View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter – data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. News
April 3, 2020

Novartis and Incyte to trial Jakavi for Covid-19

Novartis, in alliance with Incyte, has announced plans to assess Jakavi (ruxolitinib) in a Phase III clinical trial to treat cytokine storm in patients with severe Covid-19 pneumonia.

Novartis, in alliance with Incyte, has announced plans to evaluate Jakavi (ruxolitinib) in a Phase III clinical trial to treat cytokine storm in patients with severe Covid-19 pneumonia.

Cytokine storm is a severe immune overreaction to infection and leads to deadly respiratory complications in Covid-19 patients.

Jakavi is an oral, JAK 1 and JAK 2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor. It is approved in Europe to treat adults with polycythemia vera (PV) and symptoms caused by primary myelofibrosis (MF), post-polycythemia vera MF, or post-essential thrombocythemia MF.

Novartis licensed Jakavi from Incyte in 2009; the Swiss pharma giant has rights to develop and commercialise the drug in certain indications outside the US. Incyte markets the drug in the US as Jakafi to treat PV, intermediate or high-risk MF, and acute graft versus host disease in some patients.

The planned trial for Covid-19 will compare Jakavi and standard of care (SoC) therapy combination to SoC alone.

According to Novartis, the decision to assess the drug to treat coronavirus is based on pre-clinical evidence and preliminary data from independent studies. It is also supported by the safety and efficacy of the drug in certain indications.

Novartis chief medical officer and head of global drug development John Tsai said: “Novartis is taking a number of steps to address the urgent needs arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, including the evaluation of our existing therapies to assess if any can be utilised beyond their approved indications.

“The potential that Jakavi could lead to faster recovery times for Covid-19 patients with fewer requiring intensive care and mechanical ventilation is encouraging and absolutely merits further investigation.

“We now are moving rapidly to finalise the study plan and then to enrol eligible patients, as well as put in place a process to provide access for patients unable to participate in the trial.”

Additional reporting by Allie Nawrat: 

Novartis has committed itself to providing this drug, where possible,  for compassionate use to severe Covid-19 patients, as well as ensuring there is sufficient supply of the drug for patients already prescribed it for licensed indications.

Incyte chief medical officer Steven Stein added: “Our intent is to build on emerging evidence from independent studies to further establish the role ruxolitinib could play in balancing immune response to the infection and therefore potentially improving outcomes of patients with Covid-19 associated cytokine storm.

“We recognise the significant and urgent medical need of patients with severe Covid-19 infection.”

Related Companies

Free Report

Navigate your business through the ‘new normal’

COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines the world over. It has already affected our lives forever. The way we work, shop, eat, seek medical advice, and socialize will all be different in the future. Quite how different remains to be seen, but all industries must plan for multiple eventualities.  Faced with an explosion of conflicting information on how to plan and implement successful recovery strategies, decision-makers are in dire need of a single, reliable source of intelligence.   GlobalData’s COVID-19 Executive Briefing gives you access to unparalleled data and insights to successfully navigate the uncertain road to recovery across the world’s largest industries. Understand every aspect of this disruptive theme by delving into: 
  •  COVID-19 infection update, with statistics on the spread, testing by country, as well as the latest data on vaccines and therapeutic developments 
  • Economic impact overview, covering stock market indices, GDP, unemployment rates, policy responses & GlobalData’s economic recovery scorecards 
  • Sector developments, with access to sector insight summaries, cross-sector indices and the leaders and laggards in each industry vertical 
Whatever your company’s imminent strategic plans, the long-lasting impact of COVID-19 must not be overlooked. Find out how to futureproof your business operations – download our report today. 
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

Topics in this article:
NEWSLETTER Sign up Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly roundup of the latest news and analysis, sent every Friday. The pharmaceutical industry's most comprehensive news and information delivered every month.
I consent to GlobalData UK Limited collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy