GSK to test experimental drug to treat pneumonia from coronavirus

General view outside GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) headquarters in Brentford, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, London, Britain, May 4, 2020. (Reuters)

GlaxoSmithKline will start trials of an experimental rheumatoid arthritis drug on patients suffering from pneumonia related to COVID-19 at the end of the month.

Having screened its drugs for potential in the fight against the coronavirus, GSK found that otilimab - in which GSK acquired rights from German biotech firm Morphosys in 2013 - could possibly ease the devastating effect of the virus on the lungs but not suppress it directly, a company spokesman said.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

For the study, about 800 patients will receive either otilimab or a placebo, according to website ClinicalTrials.gov.

Initial results are expected towards the end of 2020. If the results show promise, GSK would consider making regulatory filings next year, the GSK spokesman said.

Read more:

Chinese scientists detect coronavirus in semen of infected men

Coronavirus: Study suggests virus spread swiftly around world in late 2019

Smokers are 80 pct less likely to severely suffer from coronavirus: French study

A scientist prepares stem cells for research at the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) research center in Stevenage, Britain November 26, 2019. (Reuters)

A scientist prepares stem cells for research at the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) research center in Stevenage, Britain November 26, 2019. (Reuters)

Britain’s largest drug maker, like many peers, has been screening its approved and experimental drugs for modes of action that could be of potential therapeutic use in patients who have contracted COVID-19.

Patients with severe symptoms are believed to suffer from an overreaction of the immune system known as cytokine storm and GSK aims to show that a drug designed to fight an autoimmune disease can help.

Rival AstraZeneca is pursuing a similar approach, trying its blood cancer drug Calquence on severely ill COVID-19 patients, seeking also to rein in an overactive immune system.

In the fight against the virus, GSK has so far brought to bear its knowledge on adjuvants, which are efficacy boosters used in many vaccines. Its development partners include Sanofi and Chinese biotech companies Clover Biopharmaceuticals and Xiamen Innovax.

In April GSK invested $250 million in Vir Biotechnology under a collaboration agreement to develop potential antibody treatments for COVID-19.

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:06 - GMT 07:06
Top