The Korea Herald


Syntekabio says it found repurposable COVID-19 drug candidates stronger than remdesivir

By Lim Jeong-yeo

Published : Sept. 3, 2020 - 15:01

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Syntekabio said Thursday that its COVID-19 combination treatment candidates have displayed therapeutic effects twice as strong as remdesivir in animal tests.

These drug candidates have been on the market for over 20 years for other indications. If further clinical tests confirm their therapeutic effects for COVID-19, it would be a matter of time to reposition them, the South Korean bio firm said.

Syntekabio said it had selected two drug materials as viable COVID-19 treatment candidates through an artificial intelligence program.

The drugs, administered together in animal models, have demonstrated 94.3 percent recovery rate in affected lungs, it said.

This is twice more effective result than remdesivir’s 44.3 percent recovery rate, Syntekabio added.

In identifying these two drugs, Syntekabio used the its AI platform to analyze the data of 3CL hydrolase (Mpro) enzyme, which is known to play a central role in the proliferation of SARS CoV-2 coronavirus. Using its analysis of this enzyme, Syntekabio studied some 3,000 drugs already approved for commercial use by the US’ Food and Drug Administration, and sifted out 30 that could be repositioned as treatments for COVID-19.

According to Syntekabio, in cellular tests, three of the 30 drugs showed promising efficacy against the pandemic disease and two especially stood out when used as combination therapy.

Syntekabio is unable to reveal the names of the drugs yet, as the company is still preparing to patent their combination use, but said the two drugs have 20 years’ accumulated data proving their safety in human body.

It is under talks with a potential partner firm in licensing out the drug candidates, and collaborating on future clinical trials and drug approvals process.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (