Sydney, June 5 : A pioneering drug developed by the University of Western Australia's spin-off company Dimerix will be included in a global trial to treat patients suffering Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) with COVID-19, the university announced on Thursday.
The drug, known as DMX-200, was chosen as part of the Randomised, Embedded, Multifactorial Adaptive Platform trial for Community-Acquired Pneumonia (REMAP-CAP) program, which is endorsed by the World Health Organisation and designated a Pandemic Special Study.
The drug is to treat people hospitalised with proven or suspected COVID-19. Such patients typically suffer acute lung dysfunction caused by the immune response to the virus. While the long-term effects of COVID-19 remain unknown, some people worry it may result in acute injury, such as chronic lung fibrosis, similar to SARS and MERS infections.
DMX-200, which is being developed as a renal therapy to reduce damage from inflammatory cells by blocking their signalling and limiting subsequent onset of fibrosis, could also benefit ARDS patients with COVID-19 in a similar way. Dimerix's chief scientific advisor Professor Kevin Pfleger welcomed the decision. "It has taken years of research and development to get DMX-200 to this point, and it will be worth every second if it can contribute to fighting the devastating effects of this virus," Pfleger said.
Dimerix CEO Dr Nina Webster said the company was pleased to support a global initiative investigating possible treatments to COVID-19. "Dimerix is uniquely positioned to support the global effort in identifying COVID-19 treatments, as well as having two Phase 2 renal clinical studies completed mid-2020," Webster said. (UNI)