Evgen Pharma PLC (LON:EVG) said 56 people have been recruited to its phase II/III STAR trial assessing its drug in patients with acute respiratory infections, including those with coronavirus (COVID-19).
Specifically, researchers will investigate whether SFX-01 can reduce the severity, or prevent the onset of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in pneumonia patients.
SFX-01 stimulates, or ‘upregulates’ the Nrf2 pathway, which is part of the natural human defence against inflammatory and oxidative stress, such as the inflammation that occurs during severe viral infection.
Preclinical work has shown this up-regulation of the Nrf2 pathway has the potential to reduce the severity of ARDS.
“We are greatly encouraged by recent academic papers which reinforce previous preclinical data showing the potential benefit to ARDS patients of up-regulating Nrf2 and hope that SFX-01 may be a valuable addition to the array of treatments that these seriously ill patients can receive,” said chief executive Huw Jones in a statement.
“We look forward to further updating the market as we progress through this important trial.,' he added.
In all, 300 people will take part in the trial, which will also assess safety data. The study is sponsored by the University of Dundee and funded by the charity Life Arc.