$1 million funding for Australian drug to treat COVID-19

A drug developed by Dimerix and based on technology coming out of The University of Western Australia has been awarded $1 million in Federal Government funding to support its inclusion in a global trial to treat patients who have Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) associated with COVID-19.

The drug, known as DMX-200, will receive the funding over 12 months from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRRF) through Biomedical Translation Bridge Program to support development and clinical evaluation of DMX-200 as a new treatment for respiratory complications as a result of COVID-19 in a global clinical study with a potential fast-track pathway to clinical practice.

DMX-200 therapy aims to reduce damage from inflammatory immune cells by blocking their signalling and limiting subsequent movement. Patients hospitalised with COVID-19 commonly have acute lung dysfunction due to the immune response to the virus.

Global experts see DMX-200 as a compelling treatment option to limit inflammation in the lungs during infection of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

It was chosen as part of the Randomised, Embedded, Multifactorial Adaptive Platform trial for Community-Acquired Pneumonia (REMAP-CAP) program, which is endorsed by the World Health Organisation and designated a Pandemic Special Study.

REMAP-CAP is an international platform trial run by a network of leading experts, institutions, and research groups. The program is studying a number of interventions to treat people hospitalised with proven or suspected COVID-19, in ICU and non-ICU settings.

The overall REMAP-CAP study plans to include more than 7,000 patients from over 200 study sites across Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America.

It already has treatments in the anti-viral, immune-modulation and immunoglobulin sphere and biopharmaceutical company Dimerix is part of a new treatment group.

Professor Steve Webb, from UWA’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, said by using an adaptive design rather than using a traditional trial approach, researchers were more likely to get to answers faster, while keeping patients as safe as possible.

Professor Webb, who is also Chair of the REMAP-CAP International Trial Steering Committee said REMAP-CAP was an optimal study to identify potential treatments for COVID-19 as safely, quickly, and effectively as possible.

Dr Nina Webster, CEO & Managing Director of Dimerix welcomed the acknowledgement and support through the BTB program.

“We believe this funding and endorsement is a reflection on the strong scientific rationale for DMX-200 to reduce damage from inflammatory cells by blocking their signalling and limiting subsequent onset of fibrosis in the lung,” Dr Webster said.

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