Oncology treatment tested in patients with moderate Covid-19 disease 

Australian clinical-stage drug development company Noxopharm has released preliminary top-line data from its NOXCOVID Phase I clinical trial testing the suitability of idronoxil (Veyonda), a TBK1 (TANK-binding kinase 1) inhibitor, as an anti-inflammatory in patients with moderate Covid-19 disease. Veyonda currently has two main drug actions – a moderating effect on the ceramide/sphingosine-1-phosphate balance and inhibition of STING signalling.  

Based on initial positive results, Noxopharm has started discussions to add Veyonda to one of the global clinical trial programs looking at identifying effective anti-inflammatory therapies in Covid-19 disease. 

The relevance of blocking TBK1 is seen as important in two respects: (i) ability to block a dysfunctional immune response to RNA viruses such as coronavirus and influenza virus; (ii) potential to avoid the adverse immune-suppressing effects of standard anti-inflammatory drugs such as prednisone and dexamethasone in potentially slowing viral clearance and increasing the risk of secondary infections. 

“The NOXCOVID Phase I clinical trial is highly encouraging for Veyonda in this role as a high proportion of the patients were experiencing elevated inflammation,” said Noxopharm CEO and Managing Director Graham Kelly. “In this trial, no major safety issues were identified and 37 of 38 patients hospitalised with moderate respiratory disease recovered.” 

“Based on what is known today, Veyonda’s properties give it the potential to address a gap in our armory of Covid-19 therapeutics,” said Marcel Nold, Professor of Paediatric Immunology at Monash University and the Hudson Institute and pediatrician at Monash Children’s Hospital. “Patients can self-administer, allowing its use in their own home. Its mechanism of action may enable treatment of moderately ill Covid-19 patients and, importantly, it could also be effective against many other viruses. In Veyonda, Noxopharm has an exciting opportunity at hand.”  

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