Pipeline Exits

COVID-19 study sparks new company exploring first-in-class medicines for rare pulmonary diseases

Experimental Human Biology
COVID-19 Clinical Research
Small Molecule
Hyaluronan production
Licensed to startup company

About the Project

Dr. Bollyky and his collaborators, Drs. Angela Rogers, Carlos Milla, and Sarah Heilshorn received an IMA grant in 2020 to develop a repurposed drug, hymecromone, for COVID-19. Hymecromone is approved in Europe to treat biliary spasm and is reported to inhibit production of hyaluronan, an extracellular matrix glycosaminoglycan involved in chronic inflammation and fibrosis. The investigators had data indicating that the thick respiratory secretions in COVID-19 were comprised of hyaluronan and wanted to determine whether hymecromone could be a therapy for COVID-19. Using IMA funds, the investigators completed a successful  phase 1 study demonstrating that hymecromone decreased the amount of hyaluronan in the sputum of healthy subjects. Dr. Bollyky has since started a company, Halo Biosciences, which develops novel formulations of hymecromone. Halo Biosciences is also a recipient of an NIH SBIR award. 


Paul Bollyky

Principal Investigator

Jenna Bollyky

Scientific Director

Elizabeth Sefton

Program Manager