Partner Therapeutics (PTx) has signed a $35m funding agreement with the US Department of Defence (DoD) for its inhaled drug Leukine in patients with Covid-19 associated acute hypoxemia.
The DoD's funding, which comes through the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND), will support two clinical studies of Leukine for this patient group.
The first of these will be initiated in August 2020 in the US under an FDA-approved investigational new drug application. Further information about the second study was not provided.
These studies will supplement data already being gathered by PTx in studies in Belgium and Singapore.
In addition, the DoD funding will support PTx's potential future regulatory filings and the scaling up of production capacity of Leukin to meet demand.
“Treatment with Leukine may confer benefit to patients with acute respiratory distress and potentially reduce long term complications. We are grateful to the DOD’s JPEO-CBRND for supporting this effort to assess the potential role of Leukine to treat patients with severe COVID-19 infection," stated PTx chief medical officer Dr Debasish Roychowdhury.
"Effective, safe and easily administered treatments that halt or reverse the progression of the disease and reduce the risk of long term complications represent an area of significant unmet need in treatment of Covid-19."
JPEO-CBRND joint project manager Colonel Ryan Eckmeier added: “We are pleased to work with PTx and excited about the prospects of repurposing already FDA-approved medical countermeasures for the fight against Covid-19.
Leukin is already approved by the FDA for acute radiation syndrome (ARS). The drug was acquired by PTx in 2018.