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JW Pharmaceutical to repurpose targeted oncology drug as COVID-19 therapy

JW Pharmaceutical said Wednesday it has applied to patent its anti-cancer pipeline CWP291 as a potential COVID-19 treatment.

CWP291 is a Wnt/beta-catenin inhibitor that is under development as a first-in-class treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, multiple myeloma and stomach cancer.

The South Korean firm is reviewing the pipeline’s ability to hinder Glucose Regulated Protein 78 (GRP78) manifestation to be applicable as a COVID-19 treatment.

GRP78 plays a central role in a tumor’s resistance to drugs. By keeping it in check, and disrupting the reciprocation between COVID-19 spike protein and GRP78, JW Pharmaceutical cited the March issue of Journal of Infection for its optimism that it may be able to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 virus’ entering the body and replicating.

JW Pharmaceutical said that CWP291, in a cellular experiment, showed quadruple antiviral potency compared to remdesivir and lopinavir which earlier surfaced as viable COVID-19 treatments.

The company said it has seen meaningful results in preliminary animal tests, and plans to carry out further animal tests as well as run parallel negotiations with contract research organizations, both domestic and global.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylalim@heraldcorp.com)
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