SaNOtize CEO Dr. Gilly Regev visited Israel earlier this month as she inspected the increase in manufacturing production of her company’s antiviral nasal spray, Enovid, which clinical tests have shown to be highly effective against many viruses, including the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and all its variants – even Delta.
In a sitdown interview with NoCamels, Regev, who has lived in Canada for the past 17 years, remarked that it has been a challenging time as shipments are constantly being delayed and canceled and supply is bad around the world.
“There is now huge pent up demand around the world. We have manufactured 250,000 units per month in Israel in November and are initiating manufacturing in the US in December with 1 million units for early next year.”
Earlier this year, Dr. Regev told NoCamels that the spray solution has provided effective against the virus that causes COVID-19 and its variants Alpha, Beta, Gamma, in lab tests conducted at Utah State University’s Antiviral Research Institute. Since then, Dr. Regev has said the center also tested against the Delta variant (first detected in India last year and also known as B.1.617.2) and found that the spray solution has continued to be effective.
In August, SaNOtize inked an agreement with Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, an Indian pharmaceutical company established in 1977 and headquartered in the country’s commercial capital, Mumbai, to manufacture the spray for India, Myanmar, Singapore, in fact, most of South East Asia.
Regev tells NoCamels that regulations in the production process are different in India. “In most countries, our nasal spray is seen as a medical device which can be used for early treatment and prevention, however, in India, Enovid is seen as a drug, requiring drug regulatory approval. Ultimately, they require a local clinical trial there.”
Originally developed as a platform technology to treat flu and chronic sinusitis, Enovid has since shown to be effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus as it releases a small dose of nitric oxide and provides a physical and chemical barrier in the nose.
“There are lots of articles highlighting that the nasal area is also very important with regard to the spread of COVID and other airborne viruses. However, despite the product’s efficacy as a prophylactic – it has been tested as more than 99 percent successful – people still think that it’s too good to be true. Our solution is inexpensive, simple, and effective and there is strong evidence that by reducing the viral load, there is a correlation with a decrease in symptoms.”
Dr. Regev says that SaNOtize did not want people to just take its word at face value, so they are running an expensive large prevention placebo-controlled human trial and have also received in-vitro validations of the strong effect on the Delta variant from an independent lab.
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As another variant – Omicron – causes widespread panic in several countries around the world, and with various nations, including Israel, now shutting their borders to all foreign nationals for a limited period, Regev is a voice of calmness amid the chatter and noise. “We need to utilize as many tools as possible to engender a return to as normal a life as possible… however that looks.
Regev was in Israel to speak to investors, with many organizations showing interest in SaNOtize, as the pandemic remains a global issue.
One of the company’s main investors is OurCrowd, the Jerusalem-based crowdfunding platform that PitchBook named Israel’s most active VC in 2021.
“When OurCrowd originally invested in SaNOtize, it was because of its huge potential as a broad spectrum treatment for viruses, bacteria, and fungus. (I was particularly impressed by its utility in fighting toenail fungus, believe it or not.)” OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved tells NoCamels, ” When COVID hit and it became apparent that it would become a huge weapon in the arsenal to fight the pandemic.”
“That’s when I realized that this investment had the potential to be one of the most impactful deals I have ever done,” he adds. “We are working hard together with Dr. Gilly Regev and her team to build this company and thereby help literally save countless lives. For a venture investor, It doesn’t get better than that.”
Earlier this year, Enovid was granted an emergency use authorization as a medical device by Israel’s Ministry of Health and began a local production line. It has been approved for people 12 years of age and older.
“If everyone used the spray, nobody would get sick. It is an invaluable aid that can be used alongside COVID-19 vaccines,” Dr. Regev says.