It took less than a week from the publication of Science 37’s whitepaper on March 12 encouraging virtual clinical trials to the FDA’s decision to endorse the idea, tailored to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stoke Therapeutics Inc. is marching ahead in the second half of this year with its phase I/IIa study with STK-001 in Dravet syndrome (DS), one of the more abysmal forms of epilepsy, although the FDA has temporarily hobbled part B of the test, pending preclinical data that will more fully characterize the safety profile of the antisense oligonucleotide (ASO).
BEIJING – China was the first country to face serious disruptions in clinical trials caused by COVID-19, and policy advocates in the country moved quickly to identify lessons for future outbreaks and address the concerns of a biotech industry in dismay.
Princeton, N.J.-based Soligenix Inc.’s quick response testing SGX-301 (synthetic hypericin) – with results shown after just six weeks of treatment – puts the company in strong position against cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) as it readies for a “robust” discussion with the FDA.
LONDON – As the epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic shifted to Europe and the number of deaths in Italy exceeded the toll in China, the EU stepped up efforts to mount a coordinated response, with a big boost for collaborative R&D funding and a call for clinical research to be pooled in multicenter, multi-arm randomized controlled trials.
DUBLIN – The Genentech arm of Basel, Switzerland-based Roche Holding AG plans to move its interleukin-6 (IL-6) inhibitor, Actemra (tocilizumab), into a global phase III trial in patients with severe pneumonia associated with COVID-19 infection.
The first attempt at using existing drugs to treat patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 has yielded disappointing results. In 200 hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19, a 14-day regimen of twice-daily treatment with Kaletra/Aluvia (lopinavir/ritonavir, Abbvie Inc.) did not hasten recovery when added to the standard of care.
LONDON – In the rush to test drugs against COVID-19, clinical trials in other indications are starting to be interrupted by the strains on health care systems and the fact that many potential patients are those most at risk from the effects of the novel coronavirus.
With medical researchers across the globe adjusting to the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19, commercial and academic trialists are taking action to protect essential studies. Regulators, too, are now joining the effort in a more concerted way, with the FDA issuing new guidance for industry, investigators and institutional review boards on conducting clinical trials during the pandemic.
Randomized trials of the broad-spectrum antiviral favipiravir, marketed as an anti-influenza treatment by Fujifilm Holdings Corp., have shown "obvious efficacy" against COVID-19, according to Zhang Xinmin, head of the China National Center for Biotechnology Development.