Ridgeback Biotherapeutics has commenced enrolment for the phase 2 trial of its Covid-19 drug candidate EIDD-2801, an orally-bioavailable form of a potent ribonucleoside analog.
The trial of EIDD-2801 will be held using a newly launched Covid-19 drug testing platform called AGILE, which has been developed in the UK by the University of Liverpool, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and Southampton Clinical Trials Unit.
Ridgeback’s drug candidate is the first oral anti-viral which has been selected to be studied in the new Covid-19 drug testing platform.
According to the University of Liverpool, AGILE is a “proof of confidence engine” that can treat patients with novel coronavirus for the first time with potential drugs that have been developed in laboratories across the world.
The new trials platform can test new drugs for the treatment of Covid-19 and identify faster than ever before compounds that can be game changers in the fight against the pandemic.
AGILE chief investigator at the University of Liverpool Professor Saye Khoo said: “In the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we need to find innovative ways to identify safe and effective treatments as soon as possible. The AGILE platform bridges the gap between pre-clinical drug discovery and large-scale testing, rapidly identifying drugs that have the best chance of success.”
Ridgeback’s investigational drug is said to block the replication of multiple RNA viruses including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. In animal studies of two distinct coronaviruses – SARS-CoV-1 and MERS, the drug candidate has been demonstrated to have boosted pulmonary function, decrease body-weight loss, and bring down the viral load in the lung.
Ridgeback co-founder and CEO Wendy Holman said: “Ridgeback is proud to work with Professor Saye Khoo, Chief Investigator on AGILE at the University of Liverpool and his team to design the EIDD-2801 specific protocol.
“It was a tremendous trans-continental effort to bring EIDD-2801 into a Phase 2 efficacy protocol to benefit COVID-19 patients in the U.K. immediately following Phase 1. Ridgeback is especially appreciative of the rapid and intensive input and guidance from MHRA throughout this process.”
Recently, Ridgeback finalised a deal with Merck under which the latter will acquire exclusive global rights to develop EIDD-2801 and related molecules in their collaboration.