APEIRON Biologics AG, a biotechnology company with an approved product on the market as well as a broad preclinical and clinical pipeline, today announced the launch of a Pilot investigator-initiated clinical trial (IIT) with APN01, a recombinant human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (rhACE2), to treat patients with severe coronavirus infection in the People’s Republic of China.
The randomized, unblinded trial will treat 24 patients for seven days to obtain preliminary data on the impact of rhACE2 on biological, physiologic, and clinical outcomes, as well as safety in patients with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. These data will be assessed to ascertain whether a Phase 2B clinical trial in a larger number of patients is warranted.
The trial is being supported by a global team of leading experts: Intensive care specialist, Prof. Arthur Slutsky, Scientist, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, and Prof. of Medicine, Surgery and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada) and Prof. Haibo Zhang, Prof. of Anesthesiology, St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto; Prof. Nanshan Zhong and Prof. Yimin Li, both of the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Health and leading physicians in fight against COVID-19 in China, will oversee the trial; and Prof. Josef Penninger, Scientific Director and Professor of the Life Science Institute of the University of British Columbia, Canada.
“Our lab provided the first in vivo proof that ACE2, which we had cloned and made the first mutant mice, is the essential receptor for the SARS-CoV-2 and that ACE2 has the potential to protect the lung from injury by collaborating with Prof. Chengyu Jiang at PUMC in Beijing. I am excited that based on our research and developments, the potential of APN01 (soluble human ACE2 protein) for the treatment of patients suffering from the novel coronavirus infection is now being explored in clinical trials,” stated Prof. Penninger, MD, co-inventor of APN01, founder of APEIRON, member of its supervisory board and Professor at the University of British Columbia.