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Daewoong to repurpose Foistar as COVID-19 treatment by January

Foistar (MFDS)
Foistar (MFDS)
Dawoong Pharmaceutical said Monday that it had finished recruiting volunteers for a phase 2 clinical trial in hopes of repurposing its Foistar tablets as the “Tamiflu of COVID-19.”

Daewoong said it anticipates the official use of Foistar as a preliminary COVID-19 drug to begin in January 2021.

Foistar, a trade name for camostat, helps prevent the spike on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from docking onto human cells, inhibiting the virus from multiplying within the body.

CrystalGenomics, a biotech based in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province, is also studying to repurpose camostat in collaboration with the Asan Medical Center.

So far, Daewoong is the fastest to finish recruiting for a phase 2 trial of a proposed COVID-19 treatment, among the nine clinical designs approved by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

Daewoong’s phase 2 clinical trial targets 19 lightly or seriously afflicted COVID-19 patients.

Oh Myoung-don of Seoul National University Hospital, who is heading the phase 2 trial of Daewoong’s Foistar, said he is thankful for the researchers who have worked through the difficult times of the pandemic to recruit study cohorts.

Oh said he would strive to deliver an orally ingestible COVID-19 antiviral medication as quickly as possible.

Daewoong’s CEO Jeon Seng-ho echoed Oh’s sentiments, adding that Foistar has proven safe for humans over the past 10 years of use by pancreatitis patients.

“We will develop Foistar as the go-to medication for people suspected of having come into contact with COVID-19 patients,” Jeon said.

Daewoong is running global clinical trials of Foistar in collaboration with Institut Pasteur Korea and the Korea Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylalim@heraldcorp.com)
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