Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (NASDAQ: TLSA) shares were advancing strongly Wednesday following an announcement by the company regarding plans to develop one of its pipeline assets for treating COVID-19.
The London-based micro-cap biotech, which focuses on developing therapies for inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, said it is developing TZLS-501 as a potential treatment for patients infected with the coronavirus who are at risk of respiratory failure.
Tiziana also said it is expediting development of TZLS-501 with Swiss biotech Novimmune, from which it licensed the asset in 2017.
TZLS-501 is a fully human anti IL-6R monoclonal antibody, and treatment with the investigational asset has shown a rapid depletion of circulating levels of IL-6 in the blood, according to Tiziana.
"An excessive production of IL-6 is regarded as a key driver of chronic inflammation and is believed to be associated with severe lung damage observed with COVID-19 infections and acute respiratory illness," according to the company.
"We are excited to move forward with our clinical development plan to expedite evaluation in patients as soon as possible," Dr. Kunwar Shailubhai, Tiziana's CEO and CSO, said in a statement.
Tiziana shares were advancing 112.25% to $4.29 at the time of publication Wednesday.