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Chong Kun Dang’s nafamostat drug proceeds to COVID-19 phase 2 trials

Chong Kun Dang, Institut Pasteur Korea and Korea Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences announce joint research on repurposing Nafabeltan at Chong Kun Dang’s headquarters in Seodamun-gu, Seoul, on Monday. France’s Ambassador to Korea Philippe Lefort, Institut Pasteur Korea CEO Ryu Wang-shick, Chairperson of KIRAMS Kim Mi-sook and Kim Young-joo, president of Chong Kun Dang, attended the ceremony. (Chong Kun Dang)
Chong Kun Dang, Institut Pasteur Korea and Korea Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences announce joint research on repurposing Nafabeltan at Chong Kun Dang’s headquarters in Seodamun-gu, Seoul, on Monday. France’s Ambassador to Korea Philippe Lefort, Institut Pasteur Korea CEO Ryu Wang-shick, Chairperson of KIRAMS Kim Mi-sook and Kim Young-joo, president of Chong Kun Dang, attended the ceremony. (Chong Kun Dang)
Chong Kun Dang said Thursday its anti-coagulant drug Nafabeltan (nafamostat) is to carry out clinical phase 2 trials to be repurposed as a COVID-19 treatment.

The company said in a joint press release with Institut Pasteur Korea and Korea Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences that Nafabeltan has demonstrated strong antiviral qualities against COVID-19 in a cellular-level test.

Instiut Pasteur Korea had explored the antiviral qualities of over 3,000 molecules of which it found that nafamostat had hundreds times’ more potency than remdesivir, the drug that had been given emergency approval by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Nafamostat suppresses the activities of TMPRSS2, an enzyme that breaks down protein that is believed to aid SARS-CoV-2 virus’ entry in the human body.

The drug has been approved by the Drug Ministry to proceed to clinical phase 2 trials on human patients.

The said clinical study will be conducted according to a protocol designed by the KIRAMS, on medium-grade COVID-19 patients diagnosed with pneumonia.

Once Nafabeltan’s therapeutic efficacy is proven, the partners will seek the Drug Ministry’s approval of the drug as an emergency remedy for the coronavirus pandemic, as well as expand the clinical test scope to patients more lightly infected by the virus.

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