Recce Pharmaceuticals expands COVID-19 screening program via US-based study

Recce Pharmaceuticals ASX RCE COVID-19 SARS COV 2 coronavirus
Preliminary data from the study of its two lead antibiotic formulations is expected in September 2020.

One week since announcing two of its compounds will be used in an upcoming antiviral SARS-CoV-2 screening program, Recce Pharmaceuticals (ASX: RCE) has penned an agreement with US-based precision medicine company Path BioAnalytics for the study of its RECCE 327 and RECCE 529 antibiotics against SARS-CoV-2, the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The development means the antiviral properties of Recce’s compounds will be independently tested in both the United States and Australia.

As its lead candidate, RECCE 327 is a broad-spectrum synthetic antibiotic formulated using synthetic polymer technology to treat blood infections and sepsis, while RECCE 529 is a new synthetic polymer formulation, built upon the company’s anti-infective expertise.

RECCE 327 was first developed in Australia to treat blood infections and sepsis derived from E. coli and S. aureus bacteria, including their superbug forms, with Recce hopeful it can be purposed towards treating COVID-19 patients.

Recce has also previously declared its antibiotics are “unique” because their potency “does not diminish even with repeated use”.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) awarded RECCE 327 a Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) designation under the Generating Antibiotic Initiatives Now (GAIN) Act in 2017, thereby putting the synthetic antibiotic on a Fast Track Designation track, in addition to 10 years of market exclusivity post-approval.

In a statement to the market, Recce said Path BioAnalytics researchers will evaluate both candidates against SARS-CoV-2 in an ex vivo respiratory organoid model system. According to the agreement, the upcoming study will be conducted at a Biosafety Level 3 containment laboratory at a leading US research university, where organoids will be purposefully infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Evaluating two compounds

The purpose of the study is to evaluate both RECCE 327 and 529 and their ability to prevent and/or mitigate SARS-CoV-2 infections in an ex vivo respiratory model system.

Preliminary data is anticipated in September 2020, Recce said.

Path BioAnalytics is currently utilising its industry-leading respiratory organoid technology to evaluate SARS-CoV-2 targeted treatments and serving as a support hub for multiple pharmaceutical companies as they seek to develop an effective (and therefore potentially lucrative) treatment for COVID-19.

“Unlike commonly used model systems, Path BioAnalytics’ organoid technology does not place selective pressure on viruses, thus maintaining an accurate representation of viral infection,” Recce stated.

“The current pandemic underscores the need for more effective treatment approaches to prevent infectious diseases. Over the past few months, Recce has received a number of expressions of interest from several universities and research organisations to collaborate on the development of potential new therapies to address the unmet needs of patients with COVID-19,” Recce non-executive chairman Dr John Prendergast said.

“We’re excited to be working with experts at Path BioAnalytics to investigate the potential effectiveness of Recce’s compounds in treating the SARS-CoV-2 infection using their advanced respiratory organoid model system,” he added.

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