In its first quarter (Q1) 2020 results, Amgen announced it will study Otezla (apremilast) and its immunomodulatory impact against Covid-19 in upcoming platform trials.

Otezla was bought for $13.4bn in November last year from Celgene, before it was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb; in the Q1 2020, it generated $470m of sales for Amgen.

The drug is a PDE4 inhibitor approved to treat inflammatory conditions, such as psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Plaque psoriasis is caused by overactive inflammation, an overactive immune system, and related hyper inflammation, is believed to be central to why so many late-stage, severe Covid-19 patients require ventilation in the ICU, and sadly, often die.

Amgen is also partnering with Adaptive Biotechnologies to discover neutralising antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, to find potential ways to prevent or treat the disease.