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EUSA Pharma gets FDA green light to evaluate IL-6 inhibitor siltuximab in COVID-19 patients

Published on 02/07/20 at 11:51am

Efforts push on to discover an effective treatment for COVID-19 in more than 100 different drug candidates worldwide. EUSA Pharma has joined these efforts with the announcement that the FDA has given the go-ahead for randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 3 clinical trial to evaluate its combination of IL-6 inhibitor siltuximab plus standard of care in hospitalised patients with COVID-19-associated Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

The study aims to enrol around 400 participants with viral ARDS and elevated serum levels of interleukin (IL)-6, with a goal of evaluating siltuximab’s impact on all-cause mortality at 28 days.

Siltuximab, an IL-6 inhibitor, is already being investigated for its efficacy and safety in the treatment of severe COVID-19 around, but data on these parameters are limited and “require validation”, according to EUSA Pharma. This latest confirmatory study will aim to reinforce these supplementary data in a well-controlled manner.

The drug is not currently approved by the FDA in any COVID-19-related indication, but this new study may give the drug the evidence base it needs to secure approval.

“Since the start of the pandemic, a growing body of evidence has been published highlighting that COVID-19 associated ARDS may exhibit features of systemic hyperinflammation, resulting from excessive cytokine production – the so-called ‘cytokine storm’ – with IL-6 recognised as a key driver of this severe condition,” explained Lee Morley, Chief Executive Officer at EUSA Pharma.

“Treatment approaches neutralising IL-6 could therefore play a key role in mitigating further detrimental inflammation and progression to respiratory failure, which can be fatal,” he added. “We thank the FDA for recognizing the importance of this clinical trial and the quick approval we received. Our plan now is to initiate the study as quickly as possible with the hope of seeing improved clinical outcomes in these critically ill patients.”

Matt Fellows

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