JW Pharmaceutical said Wednesday that it would reposition CWP291, its anticancer drug, which targets wingless and Int-1 (Wnt) signaling pathway, into a composition for treating Covid-19.
CWP291 is a targeted anticancer drug for various carcinomas, including acute myeloid leukemia, multiple myeloma, and stomach cancer, and it is the first-in-class new drug candidate under development.
JW Pharmaceutical said it reviewed CWP291’s clinical potential as a therapeutic agent for Covid-19 based on its inhibitory effect of glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) that plays a significant role in the expression of tumor resistance identified in the clinical study on CWP291.
According to the study, titled “COVID-19 spike-host cell receptor GRP78 binding site prediction” and published on the Journal of Infection in March, GRP78 was predicted to be a potential spike-binding site for Covid-19 virus.
The company said that inhibiting the interaction of Covid-19 spike protein with GRP78 could prevent viral entry and replication. In a recent cell experiment of CWP291, it showed about four-times more potent antiviral activity than that of Hydroxychloroquine and Lopinavir in addition to Remdesivir, a recently approved therapy for Covid-19.
“Repositioning several anticancer drugs has not been conducted due to toxicity problems. However, CWP291 showed its potential as a Covid-19 antiviral drug with a lower concentration lower than the dose of phase 1 trials that have been proven safe in Korea and the United States,” an official of JW Pharmaceutical said.