Collaborative topic: drug development of ProcCluster®-containing products and the characterization of their antiviral and anti-inflammatory actionable mechanisms during influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 infections
Subtopic: development of new agents and their inhalational and buccal applications for the treatment of infections with RNA viruses, such as influenza and SARS-CoV-2


With funding from the EUROPEAN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND (ERDF-OP 2014-2020), as part of the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic (REACT-EU)

Cooperation partner: University Hospital Jena (UKJ), Institute of Medical Microbiology, Section Experimental Virology

Circulating viruses, such as recurrent influenza A- or Corona viruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), continue to pose a worldwide public health threat, especially regarding their pandemic potential.

The development of efficient vaccines is time-consuming, and so far only few specific antiviral treatment strategies exist. A promising option for treating virus infections is therefore the approval of compounds already tried out, approved and in use for other diseases. In this context, pharmaceutical substances inhibiting virus-supporting cellular factors or excessive immune reactions, or resolving inflammatory processes are of special interest.

Preliminary in-vitro studies suggest that ProcCluster®, a procaine-based local anaesthetic with anti-inflammatory characteristics, has an inhibitory effect on the replication and spread of both influenza A- and SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Through the funding by the EUROPEAN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND (ERDF-OP 2014-2020), as part of the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic (REACT-EU), we will develop a new ProcCluster®-containing active ingredient that shows better stability in aqueous solutions. We will also establish its GMP-compliant production and analytical characterization, including the validation of methods.

In addition, methods of buccal and inhalative use based on moist inhalation with a water-based carrier solution will be developed, and we will investigate their stability according to ICH guidelines.
Furthermore, the membrane permeability and thus the bioavailability or functionality of the drug will be explored.

In in-vitro trials, we will, in cooperation with the UKJ, Institute of Medical Microbiology, Section of Experimental Virology, characterize the regulation of antiviral and possible anti-inflammatory effects of ProcCluster® and ProcCluster®-containing products during influenza A virus- and SARS-CoV-2 infections.