Recce Pharmaceuticals (ASX: RCE) emerged from a trading halt to announced that two of its drug candidates would be used in an upcoming antiviral SARS-Cov-2 screening program.
The pharma company is attempting to develop and commercialise new classes of synthetic anti-infectives designed to address the urgent global health problems of antibiotic-resistant superbugs and emerging viral pathogens.
The news will see Recce participate in the testing of drugs that could potentially serve as an effective treatment for COVID-19 with the actual program expected to extend for “some months”.
In a statement to the market yesterday, Recce said it entered into a screening program agreement with Australia’s national research agency, the CSIRO, and the University of Melbourne at the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunology.
The upcoming program will use Recce’s RECCE 327 and RECCE 529 candidates in the Priority 1 candidate group, which is defined as the “highest or strong likelihood of antiviral or antiseptic efficacy” meaning that compounds in this classification are eligible for stage 1 laboratory screening trials.
The 3-step screening program has been formulated so that submissions are assessed by a panel of scientific experts in virology, antivirals, medicinal chemistry and the clinical trial of antiviral drugs.
The antiviral screening program will evaluate Recce’s compounds as part of a process involving in-vitro screening and testing, ex-vivo testing using a model of human epithelial lung cells at Doherty Institute and in-vivo in CSIRO’s Australian centre for disease preparedness.
With respect to expenditure, Recce declared that according to the deal terms, its expenditure would be done in a staged fashion with the first stage set to cost Recce $35,000 and admitting that “if testing progresses, costs will increase at each stage.”
According to Recce, its RECCE 327 candidate is a synthetic antibiotic formulated using synthetic polymer technology to treat blood infections and sepsis.
Meanwhile, the other candidate, RECCE 529, is a novel synthetic polymer formulation that’s built “upon the company’s anti-infective expertise”, the company said.
“We are very pleased to have been selected by the CSIRO, one of the largest and most diverse scientific research organisations in the world, to investigate the efficacy of two of our promising compounds against SARS-CoV-2,” said non-executive chairman Dr John Prendergast of Recce Pharmaceuticals.
“The compounds’ unique, universal mechanisms of action indicate potential to attack a broad range of viruses and as well, overcome the threat of viruses’ typical hyper-mutation into new and deadly pathogens,” he added.