Patients from the Nantes University Hospital, suffering from a moderate form of Covid-19, could benefit from a clinical trial from Xenothera in June 2020.
It’s a time trial race. While the epidemic of the new coronavirus has already claimed at least 141,000 deaths worldwide, including 17,920 in France according to the latest official report, researchers are mobilizing to find an effective treatment against the disease.
“It is not a question of giving treatment if one is not sure, but of carrying out all the clinical trials so that all the tracks are pursued”, pronounced in a speech Emmanuel Macron, Monday 13th April.
“And, believe it, our doctors, our researchers are working very hard. No track is overlooked, no track will be overlooked. I agree.”
“Our antibodies work”
In Nantes (Loire-Atlantique), the biotechnology company Xenothera announced Wednesday 15th April 2020 the production of the first batch of XAV-19, a drug based on antibodies. The first step towards a clinical trial by the end of June on patients hospitalized at the CHU.
The start-up, chaired by Odile Duvaux, has been at the forefront of coronaviruses since 2015. And it has multiplied promising experiences. “The question was not whether there would be a pandemic, but when,” explains the doctor. We have identified properties on antibodies and we have developed an experiment to protect animals against Ebola. »Guinea pigs reacted well.
“Our antibodies work,” says the entrepreneur from Nantes, who heads a team of a dozen people. Concretely, they neutralize the virus and prevent it from multiplying in the body.
For moderate cases of the disease
The objective of Xenothera is now to apply its technology against the coronavirus. It would treat patients suffering from a moderate form of Covid-19 “before their condition worsens and they are admitted to an intensive care unit,” says Odile Duvaux.
As part of this treatment, around twenty patients from the Nantes University Hospital will be able to benefit from a clinical trial from the end of June next.
Upstream, the LFB pharmaceutical group, with which Xenothera has joined, will manufacture the first batch of the drug XAV-19 in its plant in Alès (Gard) during the month of May.
To finance its project, Xenothera launched a call for donations a few weeks ago. “It has already raised 110,000 euros,” notes President Odile Duvaux. “A surge in public opinion” which convinced public funders to give their support too. A subsidy of 200,000 euros from the Pays de la Loire region is expected and the BPI should follow suit in the process. The sprint is launched.