The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital

Celebrating Five Years of the Doherty Institute


Preventing the common cold and influenza

Imagine if you could prevent the common cold or influenza through a nasal spray.

That’s the mission of Ena Therapeutics, a company founded by University of Melbourne Professor David Jackson and his team following their discovery of a molecule that activates the innate immune system.

Professor Jackson’s team has been working on, modifying and creating immune modulators with drug-like properties for more than 15 years.

“We were originally using it as way to boost the effect of a vaccine and we had a lot of successes,” explains Professor Jackson.

“But what we found is that in the absence of an antigen, given intranasally, this drug could prime the innate immune system, preparing it for a virus or bacterial challenge, enormously diminishing the chances of contracting influenza and other respiratory illnesses.”

Ena Therapeutics raised funds through the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), managed by Brandon Capital Partners, and Uniseed to take Professor Jackson’s discovery to the clinic.

“Initially, we’ll direct this product towards people at high-risk of complications of influenza or common cold complications, such as patients with asthma,” says Professor Jackson.

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