Mesoblast’s remestemcel-L drug could boost COVID-19 survival rates

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By Lorna Nicholas - 
Mesoblast ASX MSB remestemcel-L drug COVID-19 survival rates ventilator

Preliminary results using Mesoblast’s remestemcel-L drug show a 83% survival rate for COVID-19 sufferers with acute respiratory distress syndrome compared to 12% in patients who had not received the drug.


Mesoblast’s (ASX: MSB) advanced remestemcel-L drug could potentially boost the survival rate of critically ill COVID-19 patients who have developed acute respiratory distress syndrome, with initial results revealing an 83% survival rate for patients treated with the drug compared to 12%.

According to Mesoblast, 10 out of 12 COVID-19 ventilator-dependent patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome survived after being treated with Mesoblast’s allogeneic mesenchymal stem cell product remestemcel-L.

Under emergency compassionate use protocols, the patients were treated with remestemcel-L at the Mt Sinai hospital in New York City between March and April.

Early success

Of the treated patients, 75% successfully came off ventilator support within an average of 10 days.

In comparison, untreated ventilator-dependent COVID-19 patients at two major New York hospitals had a 12% survival rate during the same period.

Of the non-treated patients, only 9% were able to come off ventilators.

Mesoblast noted the poor outcomes in patients that only received standard care was consistent with earlier data from China, which showed mortality rates exceeding 80% in COVID-19 patients presenting with moderate and severe respiratory distress syndrome.

“The remarkable clinical outcomes in these critically ill patients continue to underscore the potential benefits of remestemcel-L as an anti-inflammatory agent in cytokine release syndromes associated with high mortality, including acute graft versus host disease and COVID-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome,” Mesoblast chief executive officer Dr Silviu Itescu said.

“We intend to rapidly complete the randomised placebo-controlled phase 2/3 trial in COVID-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome patients to rigorously confirm that remestemcel-L improves survival in these critically ill patients,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mesoblast chief medical officer Dr Fred Grossman said the company has implemented the US FDA’s recommended robust statistical analyses to maximise the company’s ability to evaluate whether remestemcel-L provides a survival benefit in COVID-19 patients.

Today’s results follows Mesoblast’s receival of FDA Investigational New Drug clearance for treating COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome at the start of the month.