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Incyte and Novartis join coronavirus efforts with phase 3 study

Ruxolitinib helps to inhibit immune cells from attacking the body’s own immune system

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Incyte and Novartis have announced that they plan to launch a phase 3 study of their JAK inhibitor ruxolitinib in severely-ill COVID-19 patients.

The study will assess the JAK inhibitor plus standard-of-care versus standard-of-care alone, in patients with COVID-19-associated cytokine storm.

Incyte will sponsor the US trial, where it markets the drug as Jakafi, and Novartis will do so outside the US, where it markets the treatment as Jakavi. The drug is approved as a treatment for certain patients with the blood cancers polycythemia vera and myelofibrosis, and is also indicated to treat steroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease in the US.

Ruxolitinib helps to inhibit immune cells from attacking the body’s own immune system, a response which is common in certain types of blood cancer and is also seen to occur in the novel coronavirus disease.

“Our intent is to build on emerging evidence from independent studies to further establish the role ruxolitinib could play in balancing immune response to the infection and therefore potentially

improving outcomes of patients with COVID-19-associated cytokine storm,” said Steven Stein, chief medical officer of Incyte.

A number of other studies of existing therapies, including Roche’s Actemra (tocilizumab) and Sanofi/Regeneron’s Kevzara (sarilumab), are investigating their efficacy in COVID-19 patients who experience cytokine release syndrome (CRS).

Like these drugs, Incyte and Novartis hope ruxolitinib can help alleviate the effects of CRS, a form of serious inflammatory response that occurs as a complication of some infections, including COVID-19.

Article by
PMGroup

3rd April 2020

From: Research

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