BerGenBio and Oslo University Hospital, Norway, have randomised the first subject in a study assessing the former’s bemcentinib as part of the EU-SolidAct trial in Covid-19 patients in a hospital setting.

The EU-SolidAct trial is part of a pan-European research project called EU-RESPONSE for assessing various therapies in hospitalised Covid-19 patients, as well as other emerging infectious diseases. 

A lead candidate of the company, bemcentinib is an oral inhibitor of AXL.

Bemcentinib was chosen by specialists to be studied in the EU-SolidAct platform.

The Phase IIb, multicentre, randomised, placebo-controlled trial will enrol up to 500 Covid-19 patients in the hospital.

This platform trial is advancing at 68 clinical study sites in eight countries.

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Oslo University Hospital is sponsoring the trial, in partnership with the Institut National de la Santé Et de la Recherche Médicale, France, and the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network.

BerGenBio CEO Martin Olin said: “There is a need to identify new effective therapies for hospitalised patients and bemcentinib represents a promising treatment modality for this patient population through its unique mechanism of action, blocking viral entry, stimulating the innate immune system, and promoting lung tissue repair. 

“Importantly, bemcentinib enhances the Type I interferon response, causing these cytokines to activate immune cells to fight the infection regardless of spike protein or mutation. 

“Based on the results of our Phase IIa studies and learnings throughout the pandemic, we are eager to further study the effectiveness of bemcentinib in Covid-19 and are delighted to now have randomised the first patient in the EU-SolidAct platform.” 

The clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm develops transformative therapies which act on AXL for aggressive ailments, including cancer and severe respiratory infections. 

Bemcentinib is also being developed for STK11 mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

In January this year, BerGenBio and Oslo University Hospital entered a collaborative agreement to analyse bemcentinib for Covid-19.