Australian clinical-stage drug development company Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) has released preliminary top-line data from its NOXCOVID Phase I clinical trial testing the suitability of idronoxil (Veyonda®), a TBK1 (TANK-binding kinase 1) inhibitor, as an anti-inflammatory in patients with moderate COVID-19 disease. Based on initial positive results, Noxopharm has started discussions to add Veyonda to one of the global clinical trial programs looking at identifying effective anti-inflammatory therapies in COVID-19 disease.
The relevance of blocking TBK1 is seen as important in two respects: (i) ability to block a dysfunctional immune response to RNA viruses such as coronavirus and influenza virus; (ii) potential to avoid the adverse immune-suppressing effects of standard anti-inflammatory drugs such as prednisone and dexamethasone in potentially slowing viral clearance and increasing the risk of secondary infections.
“The NOXCOVID Phase I clinical trial is highly encouraging for Veyonda in this role as a high proportion of the patients were experiencing elevated inflammation,” said Noxopharm CEO and Managing Director Graham Kelly. “In this trial, no major safety issues were identified and 37 of 38 patients hospitalized with moderate respiratory disease recovered.”
“Based on what is known today, Veyonda’s properties give it the potential to address a gap in our armory of COVID-19 therapeutics,” said Marcel Nold, M.D., professor of pediatric immunology at Monash University and the Hudson Institute and pediatrician at Monash Children’s Hospital. “Patients can self-administer, allowing its use in their own home. Its mechanism of action may enable treatment of moderately ill COVID-19 patients and, importantly, it could also be effective against many other viruses. In Veyonda, Noxopharm has an exciting opportunity at hand.”
Noxopharm Limited (ASX:NOX) is an Australian clinical-stage drug development company focused on the treatment of cancer and cytokine storm (septic shock).
Veyonda® is the Company’s first pipe-line drug candidate currently in Phase 2 clinical trialling. Veyonda® has two main drug actions – a moderating effect on the ceramide/sphingosine-1-phosphate balance and inhibition of STING signalling. Activity against the former target contributes to its dual-acting oncotoxic and immunomodulatory functions designed to enhance the effectiveness and safety of standard oncology treatments, i.e., chemotherapies, radiation therapies and immune checkpoint inhibitors. Activity against the latter target provides an anti-inflammatory effect, as well as contributing to an anti-cancer action, but also potentially blocking septic shock.
Noxopharm is running comprehensive drug discovery programs in both oncology and inflammation, and is the major shareholder of US biotechnology company, Nyrada Inc (ASX:NYR), which is active in the areas of drug development for cardiovascular and neurological diseases.