North east Scotland’s proven life sciences strength in the development of novel biotherapeutics is being applied to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
NovaBiotics, the Aberdeen-based clinical stage antimicrobials drug discovery company, has announced the rapid repurposing of its experimental drug Nylexa for the ‘hidden killer’ underlying COVID-19: secondary bacterial lung infections.
The active ingredient of Nylexa is already in advanced clinical trials. It has proven to be safe and effective in clinical studies carried out across the UK, Italy and the US for the complex bacterial lung infections associated with cystic fibrosis. Nylexa could be rapidly re-positioned as a COVID-19 therapy and tested in patients in the second half of 2020.
Nylexa works to boost the body’s ability to fight infection and modulates the immune response to pathogen challenge. Nylexa also ‘supercharges’ antibiotics, boosting their efficacy against difficult to treat and even drug resistant bacteria. More than 50% of the COVID-19 patients who died in Hubei province, China, succumbed to a bacterial infection/sepsis, despite having been given antibiotic therapy. Secondary bacterial pneumonia is such as risk to clinical outcomes of COVID-19 that patients are started on antibiotic therapy to prevent this as soon as they are hospitalised. This increased use of antibiotics will undoubtedly exacerbate antibiotic resistance in the near future.
Deborah O’Neil, CEO of NovaBiotics commented: “A vaccine for COVID-19 is not certain and we must look to develop therapies that can truly change the trajectory of this disease. Nylexa is unique in that it tackles both the infectious elements of COVID-19 and the body’s response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This could deliver significant and clinically meaningful benefit, particularly for the most vulnerable patients with secondary bacterial pneumonia. The impact of bacterial infections and antibiotic resistance in COVID-19 is beyond doubt. Our strategy to expedite Nylexa’s development to address this aligns 100% with the UK Government’s ‘wave 2 COVID-19 clinical trials’ strategy to test repurposed experimental therapies already in late stage clinical trials for other indications. Whilst ‘wave 1’ focused on the potential benefit of repurposed, already licensed antiviral and antimalarial therapies. Nylexa is low risk, low cost, readily available and scalable candidate treatment that could be tested and deployed to combat the coronavirus pandemic very quickly.”
Read more on the NovaBiotics website.
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