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Roivant developing treatment for coronavirus patients

23.03.2020

The Basel-based pharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences wants to develop a special antibody for coronavirus patients. This is intended to help treat and prevent acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Vivek Ramaswamy, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Roivant Sciences
Vivek Ramaswamy, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Roivant Sciences

Roivant Sciences is working on the development of a monoclonal antibody by the name of gimsilumab, as detailed in a press release. This targets the cytokine GM-CSF. According to the company, new clinical evidence is revealing that there is a connection between GM-CSF and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in coronavirus patients. ARDS is a serious complication related to coronavirus that can see patients hospitalized or necessitate the use of mechanical ventilation or other life-support measures.

Roivant Sciences has previously tested gimsilumab in non-clinical investigations as part of a Phase 1 study. Treatment with the antibody has so far “been associated with a favorable safety and tolerability profile”, the press release states. The company has now contacted the regulatory authorities in the USA, Europe and Asia, with the aim of driving forward the clinical development of this antibody.

“Targeting GM-CSF represents a promising strategy for curbing lung damage while allowing time for the virus to clear”, comments Elizabeth Volkmann from the US institute UCLA Health, in the press release. “It is my hope that gimsilumab will reduce mortality from COVID-19 and help improve the lives of those affected by this emerging public health crisis”, she explains further.

Roivant Sciences and its subsidiaries received support from BaselArea.swiss during their efforts to establish a presence in Basel.

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