2017 – PanoxyvirLeonardo Start Up Special prize
Chairman Giuseppe Poli
Founded by a team of Italian researchers and experts from various sectors of the pharmaceutical production industry, Panoxyvir’s innovative project involves the development of a drug to prevent and treat Rhinovirus infections, which are extremely widespread throughout the world. Rhinovirus, the main cause of the common cold, occurs in more than 150 variants and, for this reason, no specific vaccines or antiviral drugs have been produced to date. Hence, there is an urgent need to produce an effective anti-Rhinovirus drug, since this virus frequently leads to an aggravation of chronic respiratory diseases, including cystic fibrosis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which together represent the third/fourth cause of death. The Panoxyvir Team has observed that certain molecules, which our body synthesises under physiological conditions from cholesterol – defined as osserols – are actually equipped with powerful effects against Rhinovirus, since they render the mucous membranes in the respiratory tract resistant to infection, without producing any toxic side-effects. This is, indeed, a revolutionary discovery, and has deservedly resulted in the award of numerous prizes both nationally and internationally. In 2017, Panoxyvir completed the first stage of its industrial project, which involved developing a synthesis method and a preliminary formulation for the substance that counteracts the effects of Rhinovirus, whilst validating its antiviral potential on samples of human nasal mucosa. Panoxyvir acquired the Italian patent in 2016 and has since extended its patent application to the EU, USA, Canada, Australia and Japan.