ALPHARETTA, GA – Ennaid Therapeutics, announced discovery of an existing oral drug that shows strong potential to treat COVID-19. Ennaid has chosen to share the findings of their Proof of Concept Data with the world in hopes that open innovation will accelerate delivery of critically needed therapies across the globe. “The COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest global health challenge we’ve ever faced, so it will take worldwide collaboration to put an end to it,” says Darnisha Harrison, Ennaid CEO and scientist. “Ennaid is sharing this critical information because we believe it is our moral and ethical responsibility. It’s a significant step in the direction of bringing this global crisis to an end and keeping the world safe.”
Using its artificial intelligence (AI)-based drug discovery platforms, Ennaid’s scientific research team at the Universidad Catolica de Murcia (UCAM), in south-eastern Spain, identified the drug Drospirenone, as a solid therapeutic candidate showing significant antiviral activity against COVID-19. Drospirenone, a generic drug, was introduced in 2000 for use in birth control pills and hormone therapy.
Following the discovery by Ennaid’s research team at UCAM, the drug was tested by Ennaid’s collaborative partners at the Center for Vaccines and Immunology (CVI) within the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens. “In multiple in vitro studies, Drospirenone shows relatively strong proof of concept inhibition data against two key proteins powering SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” says Ennaid’s CEO Darnisha Harrison. In-silico modeling at the UGA laboratories revealed Drospirenone inhibits one protein by blocking it from entering healthy cells at a rate of 70% and blocking a second, hindering the virus’ ability to reproduce at a rate of 80%, with little to no toxicity. Blocking these proteins makes it harder for the virus to replicate and become resistant. According to Harrison, this dual mechanistic action as seen in tissue culture may suggest that Drosperinone could be used as an oral treatment for COVID-19 infections once further clinical testing is done.
In the meantime, the Drospirenone discovery is just one of many made by Ennaid’s researchers who are now leading the industry in the discovery of COVID-19 therapeutic targets. Ennaid’s pipeline includes six patent-pending therapeutics that are strongly effective against the virus.
Early in 2020, there were more than one hundred groundbreaking therapeutics in Ennaid’s pipeline, quickly headed into proof of concept testing to pinpoint the prime clinical candidate. This included a drug to treat advanced-stage colorectal cancer. The company shifted focus to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We pledge to continue the aggressive investigation of approved drugs for repurposing and new chemical entities for de novo use,” Harrsion stated.
Harrison, company founder, says the decision to release the data is aligned with Ennaid’s commitment of helping to bring the full collaborative power of the biomedical research industry to the world. “Now is not the time for lone rangers and seeking financial gain. Millions of lives are at stake and we are acting in the best interest of the public. The world desperately needs this breakthrough now, which is why we decided not to wait on going public.”
Drospirenone was patented in 1976 and introduced for medical use in 2000. It is available widely throughout the world. The medication is sometimes referred to as a “fourth-generation” progestin. It is available as a generic medication. In 2017, a formulation of drospirenone with ethinyl estradiol was the 98th most commonly prescribed medication in the United States, with more than eight million prescriptions.
Strategically located in Murcia, Spain, with a Campus of more than 16,000 students and around 1,000 professors, UCAM is expanding worldwide to make their main objectives a reality: to promote a high-quality university education, with a representative presence in all continents. UCAM has a friendly and international environment in a privileged Mediterranean framework that collaborates with universities from all corners of the planet, at every educational level: research, students and professors exchange and create international undergraduate and Master’s programs in all specialities. The computational drug design group is formed by the scientists Horacio Perez-Sanchez, Jose Pedro Ceron-Carrasco, Jorge Pena-Garcia, Alfonso Perez-Garrido and Antonio Jesus Banegas Luna.
About University of Georgia
The University of Georgia is a flagship public national Sea-grant, Space-grant, Sun-grant, and Land-grant research university with its main campus in Athens, Georgia. Founded in 1785, it is one of the oldest public universities in the United States. The CVI trains tomorrow’s scientists and puts the University of Georgia at the forefront of translational research. Our researchers are working on projects that will change the landscape of animal and human health.
About Ennaid Therapeutics
Ennaid is a specialty pharmaceutical company deeply rooted in infectious diseases. The company has numerous patent-pending coronavirus discoveries, with the lead COVID-19 compound being developed in collaboration with Catalent. Clinical operations are being conducted out of its global offices in Ennaid Australia.
For more information visit www.ennaidthera.com.
Rahsha Goodman Williams
Chief Communications Officer
Chief Strategy Officer
Company Name: Ennaid Therapeutics, LLC
Country: United States