The new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic is having a devastating effect on the world economy and on all of our lives.

Whilst most global efforts are directed towards finding an effective vaccine for the new coronavirus causing COVID-19, the earliest this would be likely to appear would be sometime next year (but there is currently no vaccine for any of the coronaviruses including the common cold). However, given the current rate of spread of the virus, this will be too late for the large number of people infected before then. We believe that our approach of using combinations of existing drugs will be able to provide a solution sooner for those currently infected or will be in the coming months. This view is supported by teams of experts around the world who are gathering evidence that some combinations of antimicrobials in use against other diseases may also have effects against COVID-19.

Helperby’s platform technology is developing new combinations of old drugs and we are the only company in the world which is in commercial clinical trials with a new combination of old drugs for highly resistant bacterial infections. As our expertise is precisely in the field of developing combinations of old drugs for infectious diseases, we now plan to trial a combination of old antimicrobial drugs to treat COVID-19. Our team and advisors believe that an appropriate treatment could be available for commercial use within months on the following basis:

1. The political and scientific impetus behind this work is unprecedented;

2. It is expected that infected patients will be willing, and permitted, to volunteer to take part in the clinical trial;

3. Combinations of previously approved drugs are easier and faster to trial, and tend to have a more streamlined licencing process;

4. Helperby is the global leader in the development of combinations of old drugs for bacterial diseases.


Helperby has discovered and is developing a suite of Antibiotic Resistance Breakers (ARBs). These compounds, when combined with old antibiotics, can restore the original potency against both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria. One of these combinations (ARB-002) is active against all three of the critical priority pathogens identified by the World Health Organisation.*

Helperby’s ARBs have unique mechanisms of action and differ from other antibiotics in clinical use. They are highly relevant to major commercially valuable markets & are covered internationally by extensive patents.

Two of Helperby’s ARBs are currently in development in six pre-clinical and clinical trials:


  • Rapidly active against a wide range of key clinically important bacterial strains eg. MRSA and MSSA
  • 99.9999% reduction in bacterial count in combination with several classes of existing antimicrobials against MRSA and Pseudomonas in vitro
  • Low propensity for the induction of bacterial resistance


  • In combination with low dose Colistin (last resort antibiotic), kills CRE (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae) and Colistin resistant CRE
  • In combination with low dose Colistin, active against carbapenem / Colistin sensitive and resistant Klebsiella, E.coli, Enterobacter and also against carbapenem-resistant / Colistin sensitive Pseudomonas and Acinetobacter

* Antibacterial Agents in Clinical Development, WHO 2017

Bacterium Intact


Bacterium After Treatment


Antibiotic Renewables, A Technology For The Long Term?

All new antibiotics face the threat of resistance from increasingly smart bacteria. Using Helperby’s ARBs, it may be possible to renew old antibiotics over and over again for hundreds of years, rather like renewable energy:

  1. An old antibiotic is combined with a new ARB and is developed as a treatment for bacteria resistant to all other antibiotics
  2. Inevitably, within 20-30 years, resistance will arise to this combination so the same antibiotic is then combined with a new second ARB
  3. Again, resistance arises, so the same antibiotic is combined with a new third ARB
  4. And so on, again and again

Renewalble Antibiotics

This is the first potential long term renewable solution to the antibiotic crisis.

View the Helperby Therapeutics product pipeline