SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Selva Therapeutics, Inc. (“Selva”) announced that its antiviral drug candidate SLV213 has been shown to be effective against three prominent variants of SARS-CoV-2 in a preclinical study. Previously reported preclinical studies in cell systems showed potent antiviral effect against the Washington isolate (the original strain) of SARS-CoV-2. In the follow-up study announced today, SLV213 has been shown to be equipotent against current major variants of concern, including variants from the UK (B.1.1.7 or Alpha), South Africa (B.1.351 or Beta), and Brazil (P.1 or Gamma).
“No loss of potency was found and equal activity against all variants was determined,” explained Felix Frueh, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Selva. “Because SLV213 targets a human protein necessary for the activation of the viral spike protein, we expect that SLV213 will remain equally efficacious against the Delta variant from India (B.1.167), and future variants of concern.”
Currently in clinical development as a potential treatment for COVID-19, SLV213, a novel, oral antiviral, is a cysteine protease inhibitor that targets cathepsin-L, a human protease involved in the cell entry pathway utilized by SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses. SLV213 has demonstrated activity against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro and in vivo and completed a Phase 1 clinical trial for safety. The drug candidate is ready to enter a Phase 2 clinical trial for outpatient antiviral treatment of COVID-19 patients.
“Infectious disease experts and public health officials have been sounding the alarm that we still urgently need oral therapies that can be given to newly-diagnosed patients to prevent hospitalization,” said Ted Daley, CEO of Selva. “As an oral antiviral, SLV213 has the potential to fill a critical gap in the treatment landscape for COVID-19. Presently there are no FDA-approved oral antiviral therapies that can be administered to non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients.”
Selva previously reported that SLV213 successfully completed a Phase 1 ascending oral dose clinical trial in healthy subjects. In that study, SLV213 was shown to be safe and well-tolerated at all dose levels tested. In preclinical studies in a non-human primate model of COVID-19, SLV213 demonstrated dose-dependent lung protection and reductions in viral load in treated animals compared to non-treated controls.
“SLV213 is an ideal candidate for patients who may only have mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms, but still are at risk of progressing to hospitalization,” added Ken Krantz, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer at Selva. “We believe that we can potentially prevent such hospitalizations and ease the suffering and burden caused by SARS-CoV-2 infections significantly. We plan to take a next step to demonstrating this in our planned Phase 2 clinical trial.”
SLV213 is a novel, orally available, small molecule antiviral drug candidate that inhibits human host cell cysteine proteases to block viral entry. There are many advantages to an oral therapeutic, including the ability to treat patients in an outpatient setting, a preferred treatment for mild to moderate and asymptomatic patients and for use as a prophylactic. In addition, SLV213 potentially has broad antiviral activity against coronaviruses, Ebola viruses, and paramyxoviruses, including Nipah virus. It also has completed preclinical development as a potential therapy against Chagas disease, a parasitic disease endemic to South and Central America and spreading into the southern United States. SLV213 was developed based on research from UC San Diego and the university exclusively licensed it to Selva Therapeutics.
About Selva Therapeutics
Selva Therapeutics is a privately held biotechnology company dedicated to the development of therapeutics for infectious diseases. By rapidly developing SLV213 for COVID-19, Selva Therapeutics intends to bring a valuable treatment to the market that has the potential to fight multiple life-threatening infectious diseases. For more info, visit www.selvarx.com.