The investigational drug Tempol from Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corp. (NSDQ:ADMP) could be a potent oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19 based on cell culture research, according to scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The positive research news caused Adamis Pharmaceuticals’ stock to jump 61% from $0.69 to $1.13 today. The quick jump in its stock valuation triggered a trading halt.
Tempol belongs to a growing class of anti-COVID-19 drugs that aim to stop viral replication.
Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) is also developing a similar potential COVID-19 treatment known as PF-07321332 that is a protease inhibitor. That investigational drug binds to a viral enzyme known as protease to stop viral replication.
Remdesivir, the subcutaneous injectable drug from Gilead Sciences (NSDQ:GILD) that won FDA approval on October 22, 2020, binds to the RNA polymerase and protease of SARS-CoV-2.
Tempol relies on a different mode of action. The drug interferes with a viral enzyme known as RNA replicase.
RNA replicase plays a central role in the genome replication of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2.
Researchers at NIH discovered that SARS-CoV-2 RNA replicase relies on two iron-sulfur clusters for structural support. A separate group of researchers at the Tracey Rouault Lab within NIH found that TEMPOL degrades iron-sulfur clusters.
To determine whether TEMPOL is effective in humans will require more research, according to Dr. Tracey Rouault, who leads the aforementioned laboratory. “Given TEMPOL’s safety profile and the dosage considered therapeutic in our study, we are hopeful,” Rouault said in a statement. “However, clinical studies are needed to determine if the drug is effective in patients, particularly early in the disease course when the virus begins to replicate.”
NIH plans on performing animal studies to further gauge the effectiveness of Tempol against COVID-19.
FDA approved a new investigational new drug application for Tempol as a potential COVID-19 treatment in February.
Adamis has also begun patient enrollment for a Phase 2/3 clinical trial for Tempol.
Filed Under: Infectious Disease, RD