CRUK and partners launch trial repurposing camostat in Covid-19

Allie Nawrat 29 May 2020 (Last Updated May 29th, 2020 16:32)

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has partnered with Latus Therapeutics and the University of Edinburgh to launch a clinical trial of camostat for Covid-19. The trial is to be known as the SPIKE1 study.

Camostat is approved to treat inflammation of the pancreas in Japan and South Korea, but Latus Therapeutics founder Dr Bobojon Nazarov realised it might have potential in Covid-19; laboratory studies confirmed this.

Nazarov explained: “Camostat belongs to the only class of drug that has a strong mechanistic basis for blocking entry of the virus into human cells. We believe this drug could be used to reduce the severity of Covid-19 infection, providing much needed time for the body’s immune system to recognise the virus and destroy it. Unlike finding a vaccine, this drug could be used quickly to help people recover from COVID-19.”

CRUK is sponsoring and managing the trial at its Centre for Drug Development and another research charity, LifeArc, has invested £1m to financially support the trial.

LifeArc CEO Melanie Lee commented: “As an independent medical charity with expertise in medical translation, LifeArc could rapidly offer the resources to evaluate proposals and financially support studies with the best chance of improving patient outcomes. We are pleased to support this vital work during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

LifeArc has also separately invested £1.5m in Swedish Vicore Pharma's ATTRACT trial for Covid-19.

Vicore CEO Carl-Johan Dalsgaard said: “We are grateful for and pleased with LifeArc’s decision to make a significant financial contribution to our phase II trial with VP01 in Covid-19 patients.

"Our study was prioritised by an expert panel among a large number of applications."