Korean corporation set to test versatile drug in US
South Korean pharmaceutical company Hyundai Bioscience said Sunday that it would cooperate with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a versatile antiviral drug to deal with not only COVID-19 but also MERS and RSV.
Toward that end, the Seoul-based company noted that its U.S. unit signed a non-clinical evaluation agreement with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
The NIAID conducts basic and applied research to treat and prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic illnesses. It is one of the institutes and centers, which make up the NIH.
Under the contract, Hyundai Bioscience will deliver Xafty, its candidate to deal with COVID-19, to the U.S. outfit, which will carry not various non-clinical tests with the antiviral.
Hyundai Bioscience said that the NIH partnership was a multi-agency initiative called the Antiviral Program for Partners and designed to develop safe and effective antivirals to combat the novel coronavirus.
Over the past few years, the program has sought to find out antiviral candidates in the discovery phase via early clinical trials, which target COVID-19 and other viruses of pandemic potential.
Hyundai Bioscience said that the two parties would collaborate to check the effectiveness and safety of Xafty on 10 infectious diseases.
“The NIAID contacted us to learn about Xafty, which was developed as a broad-spectrum drug to treat many other viruses in addition to COVID-19,” a Hyundai Bioscience official said.
“The institute offered to carry out in-vitro tests to see if Xafty is effective in grappling with a total of 10 infectious diseases without proper antiviral drugs, including MERS and RSV.”
When the efficacy of Xafty is confirmed for any of the 10 diseases, the official said that the two sides would go through clinical tests for each.
Short for Middle East respiratory syndrome, MERS is a viral respiratory disease first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012 with a high mortality rate of up to 35 percent, according to the World Health Organization.
Brief for respiratory syncytial virus, RSV refers to a common respiratory virus, which typically causes mild symptoms. But it can be serious for infants, young children, and senior citizens.
After the second clinical trial for COVID-19, Hyundai Bioscience announced early this year that Xafty had shown high efficacy for patients of the coronavirus/ In June, it asked the Korean government to give emergency use authorization on COVID-19.