Technology, expertise from UK's Mucokinetica to accelerate repurposing of generic remedy nafamostat for COVID-19 oral, inhalation therapy
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A biopharmaceutical company repurposing nafamostat, a generic remedy for pancreatitis and acute kidney injury, is one step closer to a treatment in its fight against COVID-19. Covistat, an Ensysce Biosciences subsidiary, today announced its acquisition of Mucokinetica's technology and intellectual property, which will accelerate efforts to develop a low-cost treatment that helps the body's ability to block the coronavirus—and its mutating variations—from infiltrating our cells.
London-based Dr. Peter Cole and Dr. Rod Hall, founders of Mucokinetica Ltd. and world-leading experts in the development of medicines to treat respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis, are joining the Covistat team.
Nafamostat, with its anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory properties, has for 30 years been safely used intravenously to treat pancreatitis patients. Nafamostat works by affecting the body's own enzymes—not the virus, which is capable of mutating to evade treatments. Nafamostat blocks TMPRSS2, the enzyme that enables SARS-CoV-2's spike proteins to gain entry into cells. Whether suffering from mild symptoms at home or acute respiratory failure in a hospital, nafamostat's therapy is expected to reduce the viral load in patients and prevent the progression of COVID-19.
Covistat is working to repurpose this proven generic drug into oral, intranasal and inhaled therapies for COVID-19 patients, including those in remote and developing regions of the world. Compared to intravenous treatments, oral drugs are often significantly less costly and highly accessible to more people in the U.S. and around the world. Oral medications also often are preferred for their stability—longer shelf lives and easier transportation with little need for temperature-controlled storage typically limited to hospital settings.
Mucokinetica is known for its decades of research, deep technical expertise and technology advancements in inhaled and intranasal administration of nafamostat, which safely delivers the generic drug directly into the lungs of patients suffering from respiratory diseases.
"The Mucokinetica team has dedicated their lives to fighting devastating diseases. Together, we can formulate the safest, most accessible treatment to reduce progression of this powerful virus and help protect against COVID-19, as well as future strains and other seasonal coronaviruses," Dr. Lynn Kirkpatrick, Covistat CEO, said.
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