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BioCryst Begins Study on Galidesivir for Coronavirus Infection

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BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BCRX - Free Report) announced that it has initiated enrollment in a clinical study on its pipeline candidate galidesivir for treating patients with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The double-blind, placebo-controlled study, funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, will assess the safety, clinical impact and antiviral effects of galidesivir on the given patient population.

The COVID-19 study on galidesivir will be conducted in Brazil, approved by the Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (ANVISA) and the Brazilian National Ethics Committee (CONEP).

In previous phase I studies, galidesivir was found to be safe and was well-tolerated as a broad-spectrum antiviral medicine. Efficacy measures in the COVID-19 study will include the time taken to clinical improvement, time to hospital discharge, time to undetectable levels as measured by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in respiratory specimens of SARS-CoV-2.

Per the company, galidesivir, an investigational broad-spectrum antiviral drug, showed broad-spectrum activity in vitro against more than 20 RNA viruses in nine different families including the coronaviruses that cause MERS and SARS.

Shares of BioCryst have plunged 40% so far this year compared with the industry’s decline of 17.7%.

With the coronavirus pandemic now infecting more than 1.8 million people worldwide and killing more than 114,000, several large and smaller pharma/biotech companies are racing against time to successfully develop a treatment or vaccine to combat the spread of the contagion.

Currently, there are no FDA-approved treatments to contain this severe illness caused by SARS-CoV-2. Given the alarming levels of its severity, some approved drugs or pipeline candidates are being tested to see if they are effective enough in treating the infection.

Last month, Moderna (MRNA - Free Report) dosed the first patient in a phase I study, evaluating mRNA-1273 against COVID-19. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) also announced that it selected a lead vaccine candidate for the disease.  It expects to commence a phase I study on the candidate in September 2020 under an accelerated timeline.

Apart from vaccines, a few other companies are developing drugs or testing their already marketed drugs in studies to treat the coronavirus pandemic. These include Roche’s (RHHBY - Free Report) rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drug Actemra and Regeneron/Sanofi’s RA drug, Kevzara.

Zacks Rank

BioCryst currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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