TOKYO -- Takeda Pharmaceutical has begun clinical trials on three potential treatments for COVID-19 as part of a research and development team that includes U.S. peers Amgen and AbbVie Japan's biggest drugmaker said Tuesday.
The COVID R&D Alliance is recruiting up to 1,500 patients for the trials, which will take place in the U.S. over a few months.
If successful, applications would follow for approval to use these existing drugs to treat COVID-19. The effort comes amid an international search for drugs that can be repurposed to fight the pandemic.
The trials will examine the efficacy of Takeda's anti-inflammatory drug Firazyr in treating COVID-19 symptoms. Firazyr is prescribed to people with hereditary angioedema, a rare disease that causes swelling in the face and airways. The drug is expected to alleviate fluid buildup in the lungs of critically ill coronavirus patients.
The alliance also will test Amgen's psoriasis drug Otezla, along with cenicriviroc, which is used to treat liver disease. Both drugs are anticipated to suppress autoimmune responses in COVID-19 patients.
Formed in March, the COVID R&D Alliance has more than 20 members seeking to jointly investigate the efficacy of drugs in their portfolio in treating the disease, thereby saving time compared with conducting separate trials.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is also partner in the trials, as is Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative, a nonprofit set up by medical researchers and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.