Australian drug development company Noxopharm has dosed the first patient in the phase 1 NOXCOVID-1 clinical trial with Veyonda, its lead pipeline candidate, in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Veyonda is an experimental anti-cancer drug. It is being evaluated in the NOXCOVID-1 clinical trial in the treatment of hospitalized patients with moderate lung dysfunction, who need low oxygen support, and are at risk of progressing quickly towards intensive care and mechanical ventilation.
According to Noxopharm, this quick progression is increasingly being seen as an inappropriately aggressive inflammatory reaction called a cytokine storm caused by the body’s immune system in response to lung damage caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Veyonda has now joined various approved and investigational drugs with an anti-inflammatory action being assessed across the world for their ability to prevent quick progression of COVID-19 disease from moderate to severe level.
Noxopharm says that the NOXCOVID-1 clinical trial presents a unique opportunity to evaluate an emerging theory that the so-called STING signalling pathway is a main trigger of the cytokine storm syndrome.
A research that was recently carried out by the Hudson Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne has shown that part of the anti-cancer effect of the company’s Covid-19 drug candidate is an anti-inflammatory effect that stems from potent inhibition of the STING signalling pathway.
Gisela Mautner – Noxopharm Chief Medical Officer said: “It’s a testament to the skill of our scientific team and our external research collaborators that we have been able to identify the potential application of Veyonda in the treatment of COVID-19 and have been able to use our prior oncology-focused work to address this new and urgent global need.
“It is our hope that Veyonda will lessen the severity of COVID-19 and improve the recovery of affected patients worldwide.’’
The NOXCOVID-1 clinical trial aims to enroll up to nearly 40 patients, with enrollment due to be wrapped up by the end of the year.