Biotechnology company Anixa Biosciences has initiated animal testing of two proprietary compounds for treating Covid-19.

Of the two compounds tested, one targets endoribonuclease enzyme while the other targets the main protease enzyme, Mpro.

The company noted that the therapeutic candidates demonstrated potency in in-vitro studies.

Anixa Biosciences president and CEO Dr Amit Kumar said: “After screening billions of compounds in silico, synthesising dozens and testing them in biological assays, we have identified two of the most promising for further testing in animal models.

“These two compounds will be tested in animals and will be compared to Remdesivir, which is the only anti-viral drug approved for Covid-19. We expect this proof of concept study to be completed in a few weeks.”

If a compound shows potency in animals, Anixa and its collaboration partner OntoChem intend to carry out medicinal chemistry to augment the strength before progressing to comprehensive animal studies ahead of human clinical trials.

OntoChem CEO Dr Lutz Weber said: “These compounds were designed to specifically target the enzymes of SARS-CoV-2, but we feel that these compounds may also be active against other coronaviruses, as well as many of the new variants that are emerging and will continue to emerge.”

Anixa intends to develop drugs for oral use in an outpatient setting before Covid-19 symptoms become severe needing hospitalisation.

As it is not predictable if and when a variant will emerge, which can render one or more vaccines ineffective, potent and easily administered therapeutics are beneficial to fight against the pandemic.

Since the two compounds target virus’ functional enzymes, the company noted that the new spike protein variants could not evade the drug, unlike vaccines.