Bemcentinib: potential oral drug for COVID-19
University of Bergen spin-off biotech company BergenBio proclaimed that their drug bemcentinib is fast-tracked in a phase-II clinical trial as a potential treatment against COVID-19.
Bemcentinib is a potent and highly selective AXL inhibitor. The drug is administered orally once a day as a capsule dosage form. It has been reported earlier to demonstrate potent antiviral activity in preclinical models against numerous enveloped viruses, including Ebola and Zika virus. Current data have expanded this to SARS-CoV-2.
AXL kinase that is a cell membrane receptor is an important mediator of the biological mechanisms underlying deadly diseases. In COVID-19, AXL has two synergistic mechanisms of action, it helps the virus enter the host cell and suppress the Type 1 Interferon immune response by host cells and in their environment. It has been confirmed by research data that bemcentinib impedes SARS-CoV-2 host cell entry and stimulates the antiviral Type I interferon response.
Richard Godfrey, Chief Executive Officer of BerGenBio said, "Bemcentinib has shown to be generally safe and well-tolerated in hospitalised COVID-19 patients. We look forward to receiving further data and continuing our analysis of the patient populations and datasets, and subsequently discussing these results with the market, regulators, industry and Government partners to determine the next steps."
If positive results are seen, bemcentinib will develop rapidly into the large-scale Phase III trials currently in progress across the United Kingdom.
The writer works at Eskayef Pharmaceuticals Limited.