COVID-19: Namilumab and Infliximab Selected for CATALYST Trial in UK

Priscilla Lynch 

June 15, 2020

Two drugs have been selected for inclusion in the multi-arm, multi-stage CATALYST trial which is assessing drug candidates to treat COVID-19 in hospitalised patients.

Namilumab (IZN-101), a fully human monoclonal antibody currently in late-stage trials for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ankylosing spondylitis, is the first of four potential treatments to be evaluated in the trial.

Namilumab acts on granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), which is naturally produced by immune cells in the body. At abnormal levels, GM-CSF is believed to result in the excessive and dangerous lung inflammation observed in COVID-19 patients.

Anti-tumour necrosis factor therapy infliximab (CT-P13) which is already indicated to treat inflammatory conditions such as RA and irritable bowel syndrome is the second drug chosen for inclusion in the trial.

Researchers at the University of Oxford will investigate whether administering infliximab to patients with COVID-19 can prevent progression to respiratory failure or death.

The effect of the drug will be measured by the amount of oxygen required by patients as well as assessment of other severity indicators of the disease (i.e., organ failure).

Drugs in the CATALYST trial that show efficacy in these measures will be recommended for further testing within large ongoing national trials.

"We hope that by using a treatment that is already used to treat inflammation in other autoimmune conditions we may be able to manage inflammation associated with COVID-19 early," said Sir Marc Feldmann, Professor of Immunology at the University of Oxford.

"The study will recruit across Birmingham and Oxford initially but we expect that other centres will join the study soon. We are collaborating closely with Birmingham on the plans for analysis of complex biomarkers. We believe these will provide important mechanistic insights into the drugs in the study and are an important aspect of the clinical and scientific value of this study."

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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