Alexion Pharmaceuticals is revving up to enter the COVID-19 drug development race with Soliris (eculizumab), a drug that is already approved for other indications, a source familiar with the trial told Reynald Castañeda, Pharma Writer for the Investigative News team at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Castañeda comments: “The source explained that the idea behind Soliris is that the drug impacts the complement system, which could help reduce organ damage in severe COVID-19 patients.”
When asked to comment, an Alexion spokesperson pointed Castañeda to a media release stating how the company is interested in the potential use of Soliris in COVID-19 due to preclinical rationale that suggests it could be used in a subset of patients who have coronaviral infection and severe pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome. Alexion is providing Soliris for experimental emergency treatment for a small number of patients with COVID-19 infection and severe pneumonia, it states.
Soliris made $3.95bn in 2019, as per SEC filings. It was first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May 2007 for the rare blood disease paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and subsequently approved in haemolytic uremic syndrome and myasthenia gravis in September 2011 and October 2017, respectively.
Castañeda continues: “This planned COVID-19 Phase II study is on the heels of a ten-patient, single-site, proof-of-concept trial, which started ten days ago, and data is expected to be revealed sometime this week, the source noted. While he declined to detail the status of these ten patients, he noted the patients improved in general.”
GlobalData’s COVID-19 Intelligence Dashboard shows that there are 623 clinical trials across the globe that are either planned or ongoing.