Noxopharm starts trial in COVID-19 treatment race

Noxopharm starts trial in COVID-19 treatment race

Burgeoning medtech company Noxopharm (ASX: NOX) is making strides in the effort race to find a treatment for COVID-19.

The Sydney-based clinical-stage drug development company has filled the first two cohorts for its trial of Veyonda, an experimental anti-cancer drug.

Noxopharm is hoping Veyonda's anti-inflammatory properties could be a vital step in preventing COVID-19 sufferers deteriorating from moderate to severe phases of the disease.

The drug works by helping curb a strong inflammatory reaction known as a cytokine storm by the body's immune system in response to lung damage caused by the virus.

Noxopharm announced plans in April to trial the drug's effect on COVID-19 sufferers. The move had an electric effect on the company's share price, which was languishing at 11 cents.

Since that announcement shares have skyrocketed almost 600 per cent to be trading at 50 cents.

Noxopharm had initially developed the drug for use in treating prostrate cancer, but moved rapidly into the COVID-19 space when Veyonda's anti-inflammatory properties were realized.

The company is planning on launching the study, which is being conducted in the eastern European country of Moldova, in early-November.

Noxopharm CEO and managing director Graham Kelly (pictured) said with the precarious position of many patients in the study, plus not having the benefit of knowing which patients are at risk of progressing, required the company to tread cautiously.

"Hence, we have started with dosages well below where we expect to see any clinical benefit," he said.

"In the cancer setting, 1200mg is what we regard as a minimum therapeutic dose. 

"However, cancer is a chronic disease, and we anticipate that in the COVID-19 setting we may have to go up to 1800 mg to address a hyper-acute situation such as a cytokine storm."

Noxopharm's NOXCOVID-1 trial will enrol up to about 40 patients, with enrolment due to be completed before the end of the year. 

Patients will be treated with Veyonda for between 14-28 days depending on clinical response.

Updated at 2:35pm AEDT on 26 October 2020.

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