Australian company Biointelect is playing a leading role in the development of anti-malarial KODATEF (tafenoquine) for the treatment of COVID-19 injection.
Tafenoquine was originally discovered by US Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. It was approved for malaria prophylaxis in 2018 in the US as ARAKODA and Australia as KODATEF.
Biointelect is collaborating with US-based 60 Degrees Pharmaceuticals (60P), 360 Biolabs, Biocelect and Certara, to conduct testing on tafenoquine.
Biointelect said it has developed a draft protocol for a proof of concept treatment study.
The companies have announced initial testing in cell culture shows KODATEF is active against COVID-19 at clinically relevant concentrations.
"In vitro testing and modeling and simulation with Certara’s Simcypä Simulator demonstrate that tafenoquine shows antiviral activity at concentrations that are pharmacologically relevant and may be achievable in lung tissue," they said.
"In vitro testing in Vero E6 cells shows that tafenoquine seems to interfere with infectious virus replication and reduce the yield of progeny virus.
"Tafenoquine [an 8-aminoquinoline] also appears to exhibit greater potency and a different mode of action than hydroxychloroquine [a 4-aminoquinoline], which is consistent with known differences in structure and modes of action against other organisms."
“Based on this data, we believe that there is pharmacological plausibility and proof of hope that ARAKODA may have potential to be effective in the treatment pathway for COVID-19,” said Geoffrey Dow, chief executive officer of 60P.
“We are encouraged by these results and are excited to evaluate this further to help identify a safe and effective therapeutic to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.”
60P said it intends to conduct further preclinical and clinical studies to evaluate the clinical relevance of these findings and is seeking financing and research partners in pursuit of this objective.