The FDA has authorized the initiation of a Phase 2 study for the use of an anti-inflammatory drug called FSD201 (ultramicronized palmitoylethanolamide, or ultramicronized PEA) to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The trials are expected to start this month. The maker of the drug, Toronto-based FSD Pharma believes FSD201 may have the potential to address the over-exuberant inflammatory response characterized by COVID-19 infection that may lead to a cytokine storm and ultimately death.
According to Dr. Raza Bokhari, Executive Co-Chairman & CEO of FSD Pharma, “We are joining the global fight against the deadly SARS-CoV-2 virus with a hope to demonstrate down-regulation of the over-expressed immune response in COVID-19 patients leading to better treatment outcome. FSD201 is formulated as a tablet for oral dosing and is a safe compound with no known serious adverse side effects. Numerous studies over the past 40 years have validated micronized PEA for its efficacy and safety in the treatment of, and prophylactic effects with respect to, other respiratory infections.”
The FSD201 COVID-19 Trial is a randomized, controlled, double-blind, multicenter study, conducted on 352 patients to assess the efficacy and safety of FSD201 dosed at 600mg or 1200mg twice-daily, together with standard-of-care compared to SOC alone in hospitalized patients with documented COVID-19 disease. Eligible patients will present symptoms consistent with influenza/coronavirus signs (fever, dry cough, malaise, difficulty breathing) and newly documented positive COVID-19 disease.
The primary objective of the FSD201 COVID-19 Trial is to determine whether FSD201 plus SOC provides a significant improvement in the clinical status of patients (e.g., shorter time to symptom relief). Secondary objectives of the FSD201 COVID-19 Trial include determining whether FSD201 plus SOC demonstrates additional benefit in terms of safety, objective assessments such as length of time to normalization of fever, length of time to the improvement of oxygen saturation and length of time to clinical progression, including the time to mechanical ventilation or hospitalization, and length of hospital stay. The exploratory endpoint is cytokine clearance as measured by Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). The treatment period for patients in the FSD201 COVID-19 Trial is 14 days and the primary endpoint is determined at 28 days.
The Company is not making any express or implied claims that its product could eliminate, cure or contain the COVID-19 at this time.