Novalead Identifies 42 Approved Drugs With Potential To Treat Coronavirus

NovaLead Pharma has identified 42 approved drugs with the potential to treat SARS-Cov-2, or coronavirus. NovaLead, based in Pune, is a technology-enabled drug-discovery and development company that works in the field of drug repurposing. It uses its proprietary computational technology for identifying existing drugs, which may be potentially effective against the SARS-Cov2 virus, as well as for minimising its impact on human body.

Through a complex and extensive computational study involving 2,010 approved drugs and 30 potential viral and human targets, NovaLead has identified 42 existing drugs which may be helpful to patients at different stages of SARS-Cov-2 infection, NovaLead Pharma CEO Supreet Deshpande said. Deshpande said the use of existing drugs already approved by the regulators can offer a huge relief in the short to medium term, if found effective against Covid 19; the major advantage with this approach is that the drugs being approved are already proved to be safe for humans, are being actively manufactured and therefore can be immediately put to use in a very short time. If successful, physicians can save lives and also prevent early infections from turning critical, he said.

Maintaining social distancing to prevent unhindered spread of the infection and identifying those already infected are the only containment measures and the lasting solution lies in discovering a medication to fight Covid-19, and quickly. Scientists everywhere are devising ways and means to quickly find useful drugs and vaccines against it, but with very limited success so far. Additionally, any new drug or vaccine will need several safety assessments before it gets regulatory approval. “The fight against Covid-19 is a race against time and we are deploying whole of our computational infrastructure and technology platform armed with AI and ML techniques, along with intensive statistical modeling and simulations,” Deshpande said.

NovaLead Pharma’s head of research Sudhir Kulkarni said Novalead is pursuing a multi-pronged strategy involving multiple scientific computational approaches. “We have completed three phases of rational computational screenings and our discoveries so far include drugs that show promise as effective treatment either by directly attacking the virus proteins or by empowering the human proteins to minimise its spread,” Kulkarni said. The company’s research efforts will continue to further shortlist candidates for specific stages of infection by SARS-Cov-2 virus including those reaching the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) stage, Kulkarni said.

Novalead’s technology has a track record of successfully discovering repurposed drug candidates with its lead drug candidate currently being in Phase 3 trials in India, for diabetic foot ulcers.

The second repurposed candidate identified by NovaLead, NLP91, is for the treatment of psoriasis, which will get in clinical trial in 2021.

NovaLead Pharma has worked with the Indian government for the last 10 years to discover repurposed drug treatments for global unmet medical needs. The company licenses or develops its discoveries in partnership with pharma companies.-Financial Express

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