COVID-19: Rival drugmakers launch joint trial of medication

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Rival drugmakers AbbVie Inc, Amgen Inc and Takeda Pharmaceuticals Inc on Monday said they have begun treating patients in a trial to quickly show whether a drug from each company can be repurposed and used against COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The study is a collaboration among pharmaceutical industry members of the recently-formed COVID Research & Development Alliance, Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative, a partnership of medical researchers and investors, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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The first segment will test whether Amgen’s psoriasis drug Otezla, Takeda’s anti-inflammatory Firazyr and AbbVie’s cenicriviroc (which has been tried in patients with HIV) will help with the overactive, and potentially damaging, immune response that sometimes happens in patients with severe COVID-19.

The study’s “adaptive platform” means several treatment candidates can be tested at the same time, with the most promising moving forward and the least promising dropping out, Quantum Leap co-founder Dr. Laura Esserman told Reuters.

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