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Algernon Pharmaceuticals has retained Novotech, an Asia-Pacific clinical research organisation (CRO), for a planned Phase II clinical trial of Ifenprodil (NP-120) to treat coronavirus (Covid-19) patients.

The physicians in South Korea identified by Novotech will conduct the investigator-initiated Phase II trial.

Ifenprodil is an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NDMA) receptor glutamate receptor antagonist that specifically targets NMDA-type subunit 2B (Glu2NB).

The drug exhibits agonist activity for the Sigma-1 receptor, a chaperone protein up-regulated during endoplasmic reticulum stress.

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It is an approved drug in Japan and South Korea for certain neurological conditions and has a known safety history.

Under its re-purposed drug programme, Algernon has been investigating Ifenprodil.

Algernon appointed Novotech as the lead CRO for its upcoming idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and chronic cough Phase II clinical trial to be conducted in Australia.

The investigators were identified after the company retained the CRO to conduct a feasibility study in South Korea.

Algernon Pharmaceuticals CEO Christopher Moreau said: “This independent study data, along with the data generated from the Company’s animal studies on IPF and chronic cough, have supported the company’s recent new Covid-19 and acute lung injury clinical programme.”

Algernon asked Novotech to advise on the efficient regulatory approach to initiating the Ifenprodil trial for Covid-19 and to also to help identify potential investigators.

The company is currently in the process of refining the protocol for the new coronavirus study after receiving input from the investigators.

In partnership with Novotech, it will also provide the necessary information and support to assist with the study’s approval. The process may be expedited due to the current global pandemic crisis.

More information about the planned Phase II coronavirus study is expected to be released soon.