Noxopharm launches NOXCOVID-1 clinical trial of Veyonda across Europe

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Noxopharm, an Australian clinical-stage pharma company, has started the phase 1 NOXCOVID-1 clinical trial for Veyonda in Europe to evaluate the anti-cancer drug candidate as a potential treatment for cytokine storm and septic shock in COVID-19 patients.

With a capability to inhibit cGAS-STING signalling, Veyonda can potentially block the start of the cytokine storm which causes tissue damage in the lungs and other main organs.

Dr. Graham Kelly – Noxopharm CEO said: “Septic shock is a lethal condition that occurs when the body experiences severe tissue damage associated with viral and bacterial infections and trauma. Instead of the body repairing the damage, the repair process goes into overdrive and the resulting excessive inflammatory and immune responses create even more damage.

“Apart from COVID-19 patients, septic shock is thought to be responsible for about ten million deaths worldwide every year, or one in five deaths. COVID-19 simply has brought to the fore the lack of an effective treatment for this very common but severe problem.”

According to the Australian pharma company, it is not seeking Veyonda to be an alternative to other potential Covid-19 drugs like dexamethasone that may deliver a clinical benefit in patients having more advanced disease and who are already experiencing a cytokine storm.

Originally, Veyonda has been developed by Noxopharm as an essential adjunct to radiotherapy in prostate cancer treatment.

Recently, the Aussie pharma company revealed that lab studies of Veyonda demonstrated that one of the mechanisms of its active ingredient idronoxil is to inhibit the cGAS-STING signaling pathway, which includes the overexuberant STING and cytokine response to the sort of hypoxic tissue damage associated with low oxygen levels in coronavirus patients with severe respiratory distress.

Noxopharm believes that it is vital to target the cytokine storm at its headwaters in order to possibly alter the production of the wide variety of incriminating cytokines. The cGAS-STING pathway is increasingly becoming seen as that headwater, said the Australian drug development company.

NOXCOVID-1 will be a dose-escalation and dose-expansion trial with a focus on safety and proof-of-principle endpoints. The COVID-19 clinical trial will enroll around 40 hospitalized patients with respiratory insufficiency associated with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Commenting on the NOXCOVID-1 clinical trial for Veyonda, Graham Kelly said: “The purpose of this Phase I study is to test this theory in a clinical setting as quickly and as cost-effectively as we can. While Veyonda is first and foremost an anti-cancer drug, a successful treatment of septic shock represents both an enormous commercial opportunity and a pressing humanitarian need that we cannot ignore.”

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