Acer & NCATS to develop emetine as potential COVID-19 treatment

Acer Therapeutics has entered into a research collaboration agreement with the National Centre 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.

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.

The Massachusetts company 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.

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.

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