Coronavirus company news summary – RedHill investigates second candidate against Covid-19 – EC sets up a European Covid-19 data database

Allie Nawrat 21 April 2020 (Last Updated April 21st, 2020 09:26)

21 April 2020 

Alexion Pharmaceuticals intends to launch a Phase III clinical trial to assess its drug Ultomiris (ravulizumab-cwvz) to treat Covid-19 patients hospitalised with severe pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The drug is a C5 inhibitor already approved to treat a range of diseases in the US and European Union.

A Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by a research team at the University of Georgia (UGA) College of Veterinary Medicine has shown promise in test models. The vaccine consists of engineered strains of the parainfluenza virus 5 (PIV5), which is responsible for kennel cough in dogs. Read the full story here.

RedHill Biopharma has signed an agreement with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to offer its drug candidate RHB-107 (upamostat, WX-671) for non-clinical testing against Covid-19. RHB-107 is a serine protease inhibitor being developed as a cancer drug candidate; it is the second of RedHill's candidates to be investigated against Covid-19.

India-based company Zydus Cadila is set to explore its biological therapy Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b, PegiHep, as potential treatment for Covid-19. The candidate has been selected based on two research articles, published on bioRxiv and medRxiv, which provide evidence of interferon alpha’s antiviral activity against the novel coronavirus in-vitro. Interferon alpha-2b has been used to treat Covid-19 in China and Cuba.

The European Commission, in alliance with various partners, has introduced the European COVID-19 Data Platform for quick collection and sharing of research data in order to speed-up research and discovery. The platform will allow researchers to store and share datasets, including DNA sequences, protein structures, pre-clinical research and clinical trials data, along with epidemiological data.