Eisai Co. has entered into a joint research agreement with four research organizations (KAN Research Institute, National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Nagasaki University, and Yokohama City University) in Japan to develop therapeutics to prevent COVID-19. This joint research project “Development of Therapeutics for Novel Coronavirus Infectious Disease (COVID-19)” was adopted for the second public call by the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) as part of its operation for promotion of the research and development of innovative treatments for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in fiscal year 2020.
In patients with COVID-19 due to the SARS-CoV-2 infection, severe cases such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and subsequent multiple organ failure have been reported. The involvement of the formation and exacerbation of vasculopathy as well as the cytokine storm. However, at this time, the mechanism of aggravation based on the SARS-CoV-2 infection is not fully understood.
In this collaborative research, a non-clinical animal model of SARS-CoV-2 infection will be constructed. Additionally, TLR (Toll-Like Receptor) 4 antagonist eritoran, discovered by Eisai, and an anti-FKN (fractalkine) antibody E6011, discovered by Eisai’s research subsidiary KAN Research Institute, will be evaluated. The project will also promote biomarker research using clinical samples derived from SARS-CoV-2 infected patients. This collaborative research, aims to understand the mechanism of COVID-19 aggravation based on SARS-CoV-2 infection and to create drugs that prevent the aggravation of COVID-19.