This week in drug discovery (13-17 December) 

News round-up by DDW’s Megan Thomas for 13-17 December  

One of the key pillars of drug discovery and development is research, from studies to trials. This week, DDW’s Megan Thomas has selected five stories which spotlight this important, early work.  

1. 4D Pharma presents microbiome analyses from IBS Phase II clinical trial 

4D Pharma, a pharmaceutical  company developing Live Biotherapeutic products (LBPs), has announced new faecal microbiome analyses from the completed Phase II trial of Blautix(R) (MRx1234) as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) or with diarrhoea (IBS-D). 

2. First UK trial to assess use of antivirals to treat Covid-19 set to begin 

The first clinical trial in the UK to investigate whether antiviral drugs could help reduce the severity of Covid-19 is due to start, led by the University of Oxford and delivered in Wales by Cardiff University in partnership with Public Health Wales and Health and Care Research Wales. Cardiff University staff are also working directly with Oxford to support the central work required to deliver this study across the UK, as well as leading on one of the sub-studies. 

3. Vaccines induce fewer neutralising antibodies against Omicron 

Researchers from the University of Oxford have analysed the impact of the Omicron Covid-19 variant of concern on one of the immune responses generated by vaccination. 

4. How dormant cancer cells stay asleep before metastatic cancer awakens 

Mount Sinai researchers have reached a cancer research milestone and proven how cancer cells remain dormant for years after they leave a tumour and travel to other parts of the body, before awakening to create metastatic cancer. 

5. Pfizer Covid pill effective against severe disease 

Pfizer has announced results from an analysis of 2,246 adults enrolled in its Phase II/III EPIC-HR (Evaluation of Protease Inhibition for Covid-19 in High-Risk Patients) trial of its novel Covid-19 oral antiviral candidate Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir [PF-07321332] tablets and ritonavir tablets).   

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