A collaboration to accelerate the development of a lead COVID-19 drug candidate into human clinical trials has been formed by Quotient Sciences, a provider of innovative drug development and manufacturing solutions, and CytoAgents, a privately held biotech focused on the development of pharmaceutical products for the treatment of viral infectious diseases. The partnership will focus on utilising Quotient’s integrated service portfolio to support the rapid development of CytoAgents’ lead COVID-19 drug candidate, GP1681, for Phase I and II in 2020.
Scientific consensus is building that severe illness caused by COVID-19 and other infectious diseases is triggered by a phenomenon known as “cytokine storm,” an excessive immune response that attacks the body. GP1681 is a small molecule inhibitor of cytokine release in activated human immune cells and has been shown to safely modulate the natural immune response by tamping down various cytokines. GP1681 addresses an unmet need for therapeutic treatment by targeting the underlying cause of life-threatening symptoms associated with cytokine storm, which can cause more harm than the virus itself.
“Our mission is to create a powerful, lasting solution, not just for the current crisis but for any respiratory epidemic, thereby saving lives and reducing the strain on healthcare facilities,” said Teresa Whalen, CEO of CytoAgents. “Working with Quotient Sciences is a major milestone for CytoAgents in its accelerated path for a universal treatment for COVID-19-related or any respiratory epidemic.”
Mark Egerton, CEO, Quotient Sciences, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has caught humanity off guard, and we need to act swiftly to bring new medicines to patients around the world. We are delighted to support CytoAgents with the product development of GP1681.”
Under the scope of the agreement, CytoAgents will access Quotient’s formulation and manufacturing expertise to develop and rapidly supply drug product for Phase I and II testing in 2020. In parallel, Quotient will work to develop a scalable solid oral dosage form for larger patient trials and commercialisation. The program will be conducted at Quotient’s facility in Garnet Valley, PA, which has specialised drug handling and containment suitable for highly potent drug candidates.