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Daewoong to start phase 3 trial of COVID-19 preventive

Foistar (Daewoong Pharmaceutical)
Foistar (Daewoong Pharmaceutical)
Daewoong Pharmaceutical said Monday that it plans to conduct a clinical phase 3 trial for its drug targeted at preventing COVID-19.

The company received an approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety to begin the last stage of clinical trials for the drug, Foistar, on Friday.

“Foistar is convenient to administer as oral medication. Its mechanism is expected to work best in the early phase of viral replications. As the drug would hold efficacy against viral mutations, we hope it becomes an optimal preventive measure against further spread of COVID-19,” Daewoong said via a press release.

The drug, which has been in clinical use for over 10 years here against chronic pancreatitis, will be administered on people who have come in close contact with COVID-19 confirmed patients, the company said.

In the trial, a little over 1,000 people will be tested to gauge Foistar’s preventive effects against the novel coronavirus starting February, it added.

Foistar’s active ingredient is camostat mesylate. The drug works as a TMPRSS2 inhibitor, meaning that it obstructs the virus’ pathway into the human cell, by which it suppresses viral growth and reduces inflammation in the human body. It has a lasting efficacy despite viral mutations, Daewoong said.

Daewoong is also seeking to repurpose Foistar to treat COVID-19. While Foistar did not reach statistical significance in its phase 2 clinical trial as a therapy for confirmed COVID-19 patients, the company is continuing to work with governmental authorities to examine Foistar’s efficacy as an independent treatment.

Another ongoing trial is looking at jointly administering Foistar with Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir – which is already used on the medical frontlines -- to treat infected patients.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylalim@heraldcorp.com)
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