COVID-19 Top News – March 23, 2020

March 23, 2020

Actemra IV (tocilizumab) / Roche, JW Pharma
Genentech announces FDA approval of clinical trial for Actemra to treat hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia (Businesswire) – Mar 23, 2020 – “Genentech…announced….the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III clinical trial in collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to evaluate the safety and efficacy of intravenous Actemra® (tocilizumab) plus standard of care in hospitalized adult patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia.”


piclidenoson (CF101) / Can-Fite, China Medical System
Can-Fite: Piclidenoson is submitted for Compassionate Use treatment for coronavirus patients in Israel (Businesswire) – Mar 23, 2020 – “Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd…announced today that it has submitted Piclidenoson for a compassionate use program to treat coronavirus patients to the Institutional Review Board at Rabin Medical Center. If approved, the compassionate use program will be led by Dr. Dror Diker….Patients would be treated at Rabin’s Golda Hasharon Campus which is currently positioned to treat coronavirus patients in a specialized setting.”


Avigan (favipiravir) / Fujifilm Holdings
A U​.​S. phase III study of favipiravir, large scale, in New York, commencing immediately – Mar 23, 2020 – “The time is now to clear impediments, begin large-scale phase III studies in the US, and partner with FujiFilm to increase worldwide production of this vital substance.”


Celltrion accelerates development of Covid-19 antiviral treatment and aims to launch rapid self-testing kit (Businesswire) – Mar 23, 2020 – “Celltrion has successfully completed the first step of developing an antiviral treatment to fight COVID-19 and aims to launch a rapid self-testing diagnostic kit….Celltrion has been selected as a preferred developer for a monoclonal antibody project…by the Korea Centers for Disease Control (KCDC)….Once identified these will form the basis of the antiviral treatment to be tested through pre-clinical and clinical trials around the world in the third quarter of 2020….Celltrion plans to apply for device authorisation from the FDA in the US and other regulatory authorities after acquiring relevant data.”


Sorrento and Smartpharm to collaborate to develop novel gene-encoded antibody vaccine intended to protect against COVID-19 (GlobeNewswire, Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc.) – Mar 23, 2020 – “In response to the government call for rapidly deployable countermeasures, Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc (Nasdaq: SRNE, Sorrento) and SmartPharm Therapeutics Inc (SmartPharm) today announced a research and development collaboration to develop a next-generation, gene-encoded antibody vaccine for COVID-19. The collaboration will utilize monoclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 virus discovered and/or generated by Sorrento that will be encoded into a gene for delivery utilizing SmartPharm’s non-viral nanoparticle platform.”


Hoth Therapeutics announces agreement to joint development of a self-assembling vaccine (SAV) for the potential treatment of the coronavirus (Covid-19) (PRNewswire) – Mar 23, 2020 – “Hoth Therapeutics…today announced it has reached an agreement with Voltron Therapeutics, Hoth Therapeuticsto form a joint venture entity (to be named HaloVax) to commence preclinical studies for the development of vaccine prospects to prevent…(COVID-19) based upon VaxCelerate….Hoth shall be granted the right to receive single digit royalties from the sale of any products developed, and shall have the right to acquire up to a 30% equity interest in HaloVax.”


DCGI to fast-track approval for Covid-19 drug, vaccine (The Economic Times) – Mar 23, 2020 – “The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has said that it will fast-track approval of all companies which have a drug or vaccine for Covid-19 treatment….The DCGI has offered seven measures for speeding up the process, from giving fast-track approval for repurposed drug to waiving animal study….The DCGI also said that applications to import a drug for test and analysis used to check efficacy with original molecules will be processed within seven days.”


AlloVir expands its research collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine to discover and develop allogeneic, off-the-shelf, virus-specific T-cell therapies for Covid-19 (Businesswire) – Mar 23, 2020 – “AlloVir…collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine to include the discovery and development of allogeneic, off-the-shelf, virus specific T-cell therapies to combat SARS-CoV-2….AlloVir aims to develop a therapy for CoVs that can be used as a stand-alone treatment or incorporated into the company’s multi-respiratory virus investigational therapy, ALVR106.”


Hoth Therapeutics announces agreement to joint development for a Self-Assembling Vaccine (SAV) for the potential prevention of the coronavirus (COVID-19) (PRNewswire) – Mar 23, 2020 – “Hoth Therapeutics, Inc…today announced it has reached an agreement with Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. (Voltron) to form a joint venture entity, to be named HaloVax, to commence preclinical studies for the development of vaccine prospects to prevent the Coronavirus (COVID-19) based upon VaxCelerate, a self-assembling vaccine (SAV) platform exclusively licensed by Voltron from the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).”


Avigan (favipiravir) / Fujifilm Holdings
Favipiravir alleviated the pneumonia symptom of COVID-19 patients with high tolerance and few adverse reactions (Biospectrumasia) – Mar 23, 2020 – P=NA, N=NA; “…Favipiravir alleviated the pneumonia symptom of COVID-19 patients with high tolerance and few adverse reactions, potentially through a mechanism that can quickly eliminate the coronaviruses from their bodies. [P=NA, N=120]…effectiveness in experimental group was significantly better than that in the control group, which was 71.43% and 55.86%, respectively. The same significant advantage went to the average antipyretic and cough remission time.”

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