Igraine has invested in Excalibur Medicines Ltd (“EML”), a subsidiary of Excalibur Healthcare Services Ltd. EML has secured exclusive rights to and owns the COVID-19 patents on a drug, AZD1656, which is being developed as a potential therapeutic for diabetics suffering from COVID-19.
As there are very few new therapeutics in development for COVID-19 and associated virally transmitted diseases (most research is in combining existing treatments) this has the potential to be highly attractive to big pharma and biotech buyers. Further, if the trials are successful, it is likely the drug will be effective for the general population in COVID -19 and in other respiratory diseases. It is expected that the results of the Phase 2 trials of the drug – the ARCADIA trial – to assess the safety and efficacy of AZD1656 in 150 patients with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes who have been hospitalised with COVID-19, will be made public by mid-August 2021. AZD1656 is a glucokinase (GK; hexokinase 4) activator which has been shown to reduce blood glucose for up to 4 months in humans.
The aim of the ARCADIA trial is to determine whether AZD1656 improves clinical outcomes in diabetic patients hospitalised with COVID-19. The World Health Organisation (WHO) 8-point Ordinal Scale for Clinical Improvement will be used as the standard methodology for measuring patient outcomes. As at date of publication, 156 patients have been recruited and have completed treatment. The data is now being assessed and outcomes will be reported formally on or about mid-August2021. It is the intention of EML to seek a sale of the drug, a license or partnership deal as soon as possible after the data is published.