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FIP in Cats Cure Investigated for COVID-19


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Here’s an amazing one health story: Legendary investigator Dr. Niels Pedersen, distinguished professor University of California, who responsible for so much of what we have learned regarding infectious disease in cats, including feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). FIP happens as a result of the feline corona virus, and – until now – considered fatal.

Dr. Pedersen has been chasing a treatment for FIP for decades. He came to the Winn Feline Foundation (non-profit funder of cat health studies) a few years back with the idea of using a drug identical to Remdesivir, from the same pharma company, Gilead. The nearly identical compound, called GS-441524, actually succeeded to cure wet or effusive FIP in clinical trials. The results were better than dreamed.

But Gilead changed course and wouldn’t allow Pedersen to continue trialing GS-441524 or Remdesivir for cats.

So Pedersen collaborated Dr. Yunjeong Kim, associate professor in the department of pathobiology and diagnostics Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and demonstrated a similar antiviral compound —known as GC376— had an even higher degree of success in treating the wet form of FIP. 

Anivive Lifesciences. a veterinary biotechnology company took notice, and is now in the process of approving GC376 with the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine for cats with FIP.

Now, as I predicted, Anivie is seeking to learn if the same drug (remember similar to Remdesivir, the only drug approved for treatment of COVID-19) may help people to fend of COVID-19 caused by the novel corona virus. The theory is similar to the idea that it takes more than one drug to successfully treat HIV AIDS. Here’s the official release from Anivive (I’ll have Dr. Bruyette of Anivie on the radio soon for more): 

Anivive Lifesciences, a biotechnology company focused on developing first-in-class therapeutics for veterinary patients, has filed a pre-Investigational New Drug (pIND) request with the Food and Drug Administration for GC376, a candidate for the treatment of COVID-19 in humans.

“Published data shows that GC376 demonstrates in vitro and in vivo activity against many animal and human coronaviruses including SARS, MERS and most recently SARS-CoV-2,” explains Anivive Chief Medical Officer David Bruyette, DVM, DACVIM. “GC376 has shown strong activity against both the main protease (3CLpro) as well as SARS-CoV-2 in cell lines and has a CC50 of > 200 resulting in a high therapeutic index”.

Since 2018 Anivive has been developing GC376 to treat the leading cause of death in kittens and young cats, Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), a disease caused by a coronavirus. GC376 was identified as a promising therapeutic candidate by AniviveSELECT, Anivive’s AI-powered software that accelerates the drug discovery process by analyzing and learning from a massive collection of drug data compiled from over 300 sources.

“We look forward to our discussions with the FDA and advancing toward a clinical trial,” says Anivive CEO and Founder Dylan Balsz. “Our research over the past few months and our experience with GC376 support the exploration of the drug as an adjunct therapy to standard of care for COVID-19 patients or for patients where standard of care may be contraindicated.”

GC376 is a protease inhibitor. Like all coronaviruses, FIP and SARS-CoV-2 contain a protease which is responsible for replication of the virus. GC376 successfully blocks the replication process.

Internal and third-party research suggests that GC376 is also highly active against the protease in SARS-CoV-2, 3CLpro, that causes COVID-19. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Anivive was working with their existing GMP manufacturers to meet regulatory requirements and have since accelerated production to provide GC376 for human clinical trials.

Anivive remains dedicated to developing GC376 for veterinary patients but, given the current pandemic and scarcity of effective therapies, is also exploring the use of GC376 in humans to help combat COVID-19.

The FDA will guide Anivive on the proposed clinical study protocol. Anivive then plans to submit an IND application for GC376 to be evaluated as a potential addition to the current standard of care treatment for COVID-19.

About GC376

GC376 is a novel, first-in-class, small molecule protease inhibitor with a favorable therapeutic index demonstrated in preclinical studies. A common feature of viruses in the picornavirus-like supercluster (including coronaviruses) is a 3C or 3C-like protease (3Cpro or 3CLpro, respectively) responsible for viral replication. Viruses in this family include human coronavirus 229E, transmissible gastroenteritis virus of swine (TGEV), murine hepatitis virus (MHV), bovine coronavirus (BCV), feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV), severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). GC376 has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of this protease across all coronaviruses with a high therapeutic index.

About Anivive Lifesciences

Anivive is a next-generation pet health drug discovery and commercialization company that dramatically improves the speed and cost of addressing unmet medical needs in pets. Using a novel technology and analytics platform, Anivive discovers first-in-class therapeutics for unmet conditions in pets. Anivive has in-licensed the global development and commercialization rights to 5 mid/late stage product candidates and holds exclusive rights to several others. Anivive is currently seeking FDA conditional approval for verdinexor (a canine lymphoma investigational therapeutic) and USDA conditional license for canine Valley Fever investigational vaccine. More than 1,000,000 dogs succumb to canine lymphoma annually and there are over 30,000,000 dogs at risk for Valley Fever in the U.S.

Anivive continues to develop a mid-stage therapeutic for feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). FIP is caused by a feline coronavirus that kills 700,000 cats annually. FIP is fatal within a matter of weeks and has no approved treatments. Anivive has repurposed GC376 to help combat COVID-19 while maintaining their commitment to bring the product to the veterinary market. For more information please visit: www.anivive.com.

Anivive does a great job of telling the entire story HERE.

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