Selva Therapeutics has reported that its antiviral drug candidate, SLV213, demonstrated activity against three prominent SARS-CoV-2 variants in a preclinical study.
An oral small molecule, SLV213 hinders human host cell cysteine proteases to prevent viral entry.
According to findings from earlier preclinical studies in cell systems, the drug exhibited potent antiviral activity against the Washington isolate (the original strain) of SARS-CoV-2.
In the latest follow-up study, the drug was found to be equipotent against existing key variants of concern, including the UK variant (B.1.1.7 or Alpha) as well as South African (B.1.351 or Beta) and Brazilian (P.1 or Gamma) variants.
Selva noted that SLV213 showed in vitro and in vivo activity against the Covid-19 virus and the company has concluded a Phase I clinical trial for safety.
In a Phase I ascending oral dose trial in healthy subjects, SLV213 was found to be safe and well-tolerated at all the tested dose levels.
Selva Therapeutics chief scientific officer Felix Frueh said: “No loss of potency was found and equal activity against all variants was determined.
“Because SLV213 targets a human protein necessary for the activation of the viral spike protein, we expect that SLV213 will remain equally efficacious against the Delta variant from India (B.1.167), and future variants of concern.”
Furthermore, the drug candidate showed dose-dependent lung protection and a decline in viral load in animals versus non-treated controls, in preclinical studies involving a non-human primate model of Covid-19.
Selva Therapeutics chief medical officer Ken Krantz said: “SLV213 is an ideal candidate for patients who may only have mild or moderate Covid-19 symptoms, but are still at risk of progressing to hospitalisation.
“We believe that we can potentially prevent such hospitalisations and ease the suffering and burden caused by SARS-CoV-2 infections significantly.”
At present, the drug candidate is set to undergo a Phase II trial as an antiviral treatment for Covid-19 patients in the outpatient setting.