Study of siltuximab for treating COVID-19 serious respiratory complications initiated

Image of a microscope and papers to show Study of siltuximab for treating COVID-19 serious respiratory complications initiated

A study of siltuximab for treating COVID-19 serious respiratory complications has been initiated.

EUSA Pharma has announced the initiation of the Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital sponsored study of siltuximab, an interleukin (IL)-6 targeted monoclonal antibody, for the treatment of patients with COVID-19 who have developed serious respiratory complications (Siltuximab In Serious COVID-19; SISCO Study). Ergomed plc is providing clinical research services for the study.

The study represents the data collection and analysis of a series of patients treated under an ongoing emergency compassionate use protocol. The study will investigate two cohorts retrospectively, hospitalised patients prior to admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) or patients already requiring intensive care, and will compare to matched controls. Primary endpoints are reduction in the need of invasive ventilation, time spent in ICU or 30-day mortality.

Emerging evidence suggests that exacerbated production of the inflammatory cytokine IL-6 is associated with the severity of COVID-19 related pulmonary pathology associated with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Therefore, direct targeting of this cytokine may improve clinical outcomes in these critically ill patients.

This study of siltuximab for treating COVID-19 serious respiratory complications will provide important data to inform future clinical studies, discussions on which are ongoing, to further investigate the efficacy of siltuximab in patients with COVID-19 who develop serious respiratory complications. Initial data are expected in late March 2020.

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Professor Alessandro Rambaldi, MD, PhD, Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital, Bergamo, Italy, Study Sponsor-Investigator and Director of the Hematology Unit and Department of Oncology and Hematology, said: “The team at Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital are thankful to EUSA Pharma for the supply of siltuximab for compassionate use in patients with serious complications of COVID-19 and the opportunity to generate data to understand the potential for IL-6 blockade in these patients.

“The SISCO Study will allow us to generate credible data as evidence to guide future treatment and research decisions and we look forward to publication of these data as quickly as possible. The Hospital is in a very difficult emergency situation and rapid collection and analysis of data by way of a case-control study will provide much needed  information to help address this critical situation and appropriately guide the use of medicines in an off-label situation.”

Lee Morley, Chief Executive Officer, EUSA Pharma, said: “We are delighted to support this study to investigate the potential for siltuximab to help patients severely ill as a result of COVID-19. Following the release of initial data from China suggesting a role of IL-6 in the development of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome as a result of COVID-19, EUSA Pharma was pleased to assist Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital with the supply of siltuximab under compassionate use and to support the collection, analysis and publication of initial outcome data from this series of patients. We look forward to working further with the Hospital as well as Italian and Worldwide Regulatory Authorities, and other research bodies to fully understand the potential of siltuximab at this critical time in the global pandemic.”

Dr Miroslav Reljanović, Executive Chairman of Ergomed, said: “COVID-19 represents an unprecedented global healthcare challenge and the rapid evaluation of therapies which could alter the course of the infection and improve outcomes for patients is vital. Ergomed is proud to be making a contribution to this effort by bringing our proven capabilities and expertise to bear on this important study.”

EUSA Pharma acquired the global rights to siltuximab in July 2018.