Acer Therapeutics to Develop Emetine as Potential COVID-19 Treatment in Collaboration with National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, One of the National Institutes of Health
Targeting Q3 2020 initiation of an adaptive Phase 2/3 trial evaluating emetine in high-risk COVID-19 outpatients, following IND submission and clearance
Acer to host conference call and webcast on Monday, May 11 at 5:30 pm Eastern Time
NEWTON, Mass., May 11, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Acer Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: ACER), a pharmaceutical company focused on the acquisition, development and commercialization of therapies for serious rare and life-threatening diseases with significant unmet medical needs, today announced it has entered into a research collaboration agreement with the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to develop emetine hydrochloride as a potential treatment for patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Under the terms of the agreement, Acer and NCATS will collaborate to accelerate the clinical development of emetine, a broad-acting and potent antiviral according to various preclinical and clinical studies.
Acer is in ongoing discussion with the Division of Antivirals (DAV) at the FDA after receiving its initial written responses to the Company’s pre-Investigational New Drug (pre-IND) package. Acer is working toward an IND submission in mid-2020 and targeting clinical trial initiation in the third quarter of 2020, subject to additional capital. The Company has proposed an adaptive design Phase 2/3 randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled multi-center trial to evaluate the safety and antiviral activity of emetine in high-risk, symptomatic adult patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection not requiring hospitalization. The trial objectives as planned are to determine the safety and efficacy of emetine via clinical status at a specific timepoint in addition to disease resolution.
Acer is concurrently pursuing several financing options, including federally-funded research and grants, to support emetine development. For example, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) invited the Company to present the emetine development program at the BARDA CoronaWatch meeting on May 7, 2020. BARDA CoronaWatch is a funding program providing government support for selected coronavirus projects. While Acer plans to advance emetine through IND submission, initiation of the clinical trial of emetine is contingent on the timely availability of additional capital to fund this program.
Emetine will be delivered as a sterile subcutaneous injection. Acer will oversee the contract synthesis and manufacturing of emetine for clinical development and potential commercialization.
“We are very pleased to be selected by NCATS and look forward to collaborating on the development of emetine, a broad-acting and potent antiviral identified by NCATS as their best preclinical opportunity for further clinical development for the treatment of COVID-19,” said Chris Schelling, CEO and Founder of Acer. “With a collaboration agreement in place, ongoing discussions with the FDA toward IND submission, and several potentially non-dilutive funding sources being pursued, we believe we are well-positioned to advance the clinical development of emetine.”
Conference Call and Webcast Details
About Emetine Hydrochloride
Acer intends to initially seek FDA approval to market emetine in the U.S. using a regulatory pathway established under section 505(b)(2) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act that allows applicants to rely at least in part on third party data for approval. The Company intends to rely in part on the existing preclinical and clinical safety data for emetine, while supplementing with the COVID-19 safety and efficacy data to be generated in the Phase 2/3 trial as well as chemistry, manufacturing and controls information. If the Phase 2/3 trial is completed successfully, following IND submission and clearance, Acer anticipates submitting to the FDA the 505(b)(2) NDA for emetine for the treatment of COVID-19. The potential initiation of the Phase 2/3 trial, its conduct and completion and NDA submission are subject to the Company’s ability to generate sufficient capital resources to fund this program. Emetine is an investigational drug for COVID-19 and is not currently FDA approved for any indication.
About the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences
About Acer Therapeutics Inc.