FSD Pharma Inc. received approval from the U.S. FDA to submit an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) for the use of FSD-201 (ultramicronized palmitoylethanolamide, or ultramicronized PEA) to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Severe COVID-19 is characterized by an over-exuberant inflammatory response that may lead to a cytokine storm and ultimately death. FSD Pharma is focused on developing FSD-201 for its anti-inflammatory properties to avoid the cytokine storm associated with acute lung injury in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Based on the FDA feedback, the trial will likely be a randomized, controlled, double-blind, U.S. multicenter study to assess the efficacy and safety of FSD-201 dosed 600mg or 1200mg twice-daily plus standard of care (SOC) versus SOC alone in symptomatic patients with clinical presentation compatible with COVID-19. The primary endpoint is to determine if FSD-201 plus SOC provides a significant improvement in clinical status. Key secondary objectives include determining if FSD-201 plus SOC demonstrates additional benefit in terms of safety, objective assessments such as length of time to normalization of fever, length of time to improvement of oxygen saturation and length of time to clinical progression including time to mechanical ventilation or hospitalization, and length of hospital stay.
“FDA’s permission to design a proof-of-concept study in COVID-19 patients evaluating clinical doses of FSD-201 is a paradigm shift for FSD Pharma and is the result of outstanding work conducted by Dr. Edward Brennan, President FSD BioSciences, and his team,” said Raza Bokhari, MD, Executive Co-Chairman & CEO. “We contacted the FDA in late-March 2020 after becoming aware that several Italian physicians and scientists were advocating for use of ultra micronized PEA for patients suffering from symptoms of COVID-19, based on the drug’s mechanism of action as a potent and safe anti-inflammatory agent that reduces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Numerous studies over the past 40 years also validate the efficacy and safety of ultra micronized PEA in the treatment and prophylactic effects in respiratory infections.”