Sound Pharmaceuticals gets NIH grant for Covid-19 candidate SPI-1005
Sound Pharmaceuticals has secured a grant of $3.1 million for supporting the evaluation of its COVID-19 treatment candidate SPI-1005 in two phase 2 clinical trials from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
SPI-1005 is an oral capsule, which contains a small molecule called ebselen that has anti-inflammatory properties. It is being developed by Sound Pharmaceuticals for various neurotologic, respiratory, and neuropsychiatric indications.
The grant from NCATS will support the two randomized, double-bind, placebo-controlled clinical trials that will feature 120 adults having moderate or severe Covid-19, who will be subjected to either SPI-1005 or placebo for 7 or 14 days.
Dr. Jonathan Kil – Co-Founder and CEO of Sound Pharmaceuticals said: “We are honored to receive NIH funding for this novel therapeutic application of ebselen in COVID-19.
“To our knowledge, these are the first Phase 2 studies of an Mpro or PLpro inhibitor in moderate and severe COVID-19.”
Recently, Ebselen was shown to prevent SARS-CoV-2 in three separate in vitro studies, which involved two different cell lines and in vivo in a rodent model of Covid-19.
According to Sound Pharmaceuticals, the anti-viral activity is because of the binding and inhibition of the main protease (Mpro) and papain-like protease (PLpro), which are two critical enzymes for viral replication in SARS-CoV-2.
The Seattle-based biopharma company hopes that ebselen’s anti-inflammatory and anti-viral activity, its safety and oral administration provide a unique potential as a new therapy for Covid-19.
Apart from evaluating if ebselen can improve clinical outcomes in the phase 2 clinical trials, Sound Pharmaceuticals will also study if the inflammatory and cellular immune response of the body to Covid-19 infection will improve with treatment with SPI-1005.