Edesa Biotech Receives Canadian Approval to Test COVID-19 Drug as Rescue Therapy
- Phase 3 study will focus on critically ill patients, many of whom have run out of effective drug treatment options
TORONTO, ON / ACCESSWIRE / January 13, 2022 / Edesa Biotech, Inc. (NASDAQ:EDSA), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on inflammatory and immune-related diseases, today reported that the company has received approval from Health Canada to test its monoclonal antibody candidate, designated EB05, as a rescue therapy for critically ill patients in the Phase 3 part of a Phase 2/3 clinical study.
Edesa believes that EB05 regulates the overactive and dysfunctional immune response associated with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), a life-threatening form of respiratory failure that accounts for ~10% of all ICU admissions (pre-pandemic) and is the leading cause of death among COVID-19 patients. Approval of the company's Phase 3 study design follows favorable Phase 2 results, which demonstrated compelling preliminary evidence of EB05's ability to reduce mortality in the sickest patients. Among the results, critically ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients given EB05 plus standard of care treatment had a 68.5% reduction in the risk of dying when compared to placebo plus standard of care at 28 days.
"Health Canada's approval represents a significant milestone in our goal of demonstrating the broad potential utility of EB05 in a critical care setting," said Par Nijhawan, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Edesa. He noted that there's an urgent need for therapeutics that are agnostic to SARS-CoV2 variants.
"The growing number of COVID variants - and the inherent limits of vaccines and anti-viral drugs - have highlighted the importance of agnostic therapies, like EB05, that target the patient's immune response rather than the virus. While the Phase 3 study is designed to confirm the Phase 2 results, the preliminary data shows that EB05 has already saved lives. Perhaps just as important, this innovative technology is providing greater confidence that COVID can be well managed one day, like other endemic diseases," said Dr. Nijhawan.
Edesa reported that the Phase 3 double-blind study is designed to assess the efficacy and safety of EB05 among critically ill COVID-19 patients receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and/or invasive mechanical ventilation plus organ support (IMV+), defined as Level 7 on the World Health Organization's COVID-19 Severity Scale. The primary endpoint for the Level 7 patients will be 28-day mortality. Ventilator free days and 60-day mortality will also be measured among other secondary endpoints. The amended trial protocol design calls for approximately 315 evaluable subjects. The company has opened patient enrollment under the amended protocol.
Health Canada reviewed Edesa's study design amendment and approved it by issuing a "Notice of Authorization," which allows the company to proceed with its planned study design. Under the amended protocol, Edesa also has the option to complete a separate study group of less severe patients receiving only invasive mechanical ventilation (WHO COVID-19 Severity Scale Level 6), which would be evaluated independently.
Edesa has filed similar protocol amendments with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as other jurisdictions. In the U.S., the company is currently in discussions with the FDA on the design of the final Phase 3 protocol.
EB05 is a monoclonal antibody designed to inhibit toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling - an important mediator of inflammation responsible for acute lung injury that has been shown to be activated by SARS-CoV2, SARS-CoV1 and Influenza viruses. In September 2021, the company reported that an independent monitoring board for the Phase 2/3 study concluded that "a clinically important efficacy signal" was detected and that the Phase 2 study "met its objective." The monitoring board further recommended continuation of the study into a Phase 3 confirmatory trial. Edesa's Phase 2 study of EB05 in hospitalized COVID-19 patients was funded in part by a C$14 million grant from the Canadian Government's Strategic Innovation Fund.
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome is the leading cause of death in COVID-19 patients. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 20% to 42% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients develop ARDS, which increases to 67% to 85% for patients admitted to the ICU. Mortality among patients admitted to the ICU ranges from 39% to 72% depending on the study and characteristics of patient population, according to the CDC. ARDS involves an exaggerated immune response leading to inflammation and injury to the lungs that prevents the lungs from oxygenating blood and ultimately deprives the body of oxygen. For moderate to severe cases, there are currently few meaningful treatments, other than supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilation, and patients suffer high mortality rates. In addition to virus-induced pneumonia, ARDS can be caused by smoke/chemical inhalation, sepsis, chest injury and other causes. Prior to COVID-19, ARDS accounted for 10% of intensive care unit admissions, representing more than 3 million patients globally each year.
About Edesa Biotech, Inc.
Edesa Biotech, Inc. (NASDAQ:EDSA) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing innovative treatments for inflammatory and immune-related diseases with clear unmet medical needs. The company's two lead product candidates, EB05 and EB01, are in later stage clinical studies. EB05 is a monoclonal antibody therapy that we are developing as a treatment for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is a life-threatening form of respiratory failure, and the leading cause of death among COVID-19 patients. Edesa is also developing an sPLA2 inhibitor, designated as EB01, as a topical treatment for chronic allergic contact dermatitis (ACD), a common, potentially debilitating condition and occupational illness. By targeting sPLA2 with enzyme inhibitors - at the inception of inflammation rather than after inflammation has occurred - Edesa believes that drugs based on this technology could provide a powerful anti-inflammatory therapeutic strategy for treating diverse inflammatory/allergic conditions. The company is based in Markham, Ontario, Canada, with a U.S. subsidiary located in Southern California. Sign up for news alerts. Connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Edesa Forward-Looking Statements
This press release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of words such as "anticipate," "believe," "plan," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "will," "would," "could," "should," "might," "potential," or "continue" and variations or similar expressions, including statements related to: the company's belief that EB05 could regulate the overactive and dysfunctional immune response associated with ARDS; the company's belief in the broad potential life-saving impact of its EB05 monoclonal antibody candidate; the company's belief that there's a critical need for therapeutics that are agnostic to SARS-CoV2 variants; and the company's timing and plans regarding its clinical studies in general. Readers should not unduly rely on these forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of future performance. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as all such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause actual results or future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. Such risks include: the ability of Edesa to obtain regulatory approval for or successfully commercialize any of its product candidates, the risk that access to sufficient capital to fund Edesa's operations may not be available or may be available on terms that are not commercially favorable to Edesa, the risk that Edesa's product candidates may not be effective against the diseases tested in its clinical trials, the risk that Edesa fails to comply with the terms of license agreements with third parties and as a result loses the right to use key intellectual property in its business, Edesa's ability to protect its intellectual property, the timing and success of submission, acceptance and approval of regulatory filings, and the impacts of public health crises, such as COVID-19. Many of these factors that will determine actual results are beyond the company's ability to control or predict. For a discussion of further risks and uncertainties related to Edesa's business, please refer to Edesa's public company reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the British Columbia Securities Commission. All forward-looking statements are made as of the date hereof and are subject to change. Except as required by law, Edesa assumes no obligation to update such statements.
Edesa Biotech, Inc.
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SOURCE: Edesa Biotech
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