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Q&A: COVID-19 Drug Discovery at Collaborations Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Ana Cristina Puhl Rubio, Collaborations Pharmaceuticals

Q: So far there have been so many effects and publications on small molecular inhibitors against Covid-19, but it seems we may not be able to get any value drug before all Americans get vaccinated. Would this still be effective strategy?
A: There are some molecules in clinical trials, but I haven’t seen anything working so well yet. I think we will need combination therapies. All Americans can get vaccinated, but there are so many variants, mutations from Africa, Brazil and UK, for which we don’t know if the vaccines will be effective. If the World don’t get vaccinated (7 billion people), that still a problem to Americans, because all the mutations that are leading the virus to be more infectious. Vaccination should be a global effort. A small molecule can help sick patients and still a valuable approach.

Q: Among several Machine learning approaches such as Host-targeting, signature matching, network-based methods: which one was utilized for your studies (Slide 28)? Did you also try any hybrid approach?
A: I answered that online.

Q: Do you think if phospholipidosis and QT prolongation/arrhythmia pose as potential safety risks using lysosomotropic drugs for SARS-Cov-2?
A: The phospholipidosis phenotype is short lived post drug clearance so we think that it would not cause any long-term risks.

Q: Is accumulation of lysosomotropic drugs in pulmonary tissue is a prerequisite for achieving therapeutic efficacy?
A: We don’t have that answer yet. We believe the mechanism is lysosomotropism, we need more studies. We don’t know if the drugs accumulate in the lungs and if that is prerequisite for therapeutic efficacy. We need mouse studies for that.

Q: What are the next steps towards approval for your lead compounds?
A: The next step is conducting a mouse study with a mouse adapted SARS-Cov2 and verify if our compounds are active. Then seek a partner and get approval from regulatory agencies to conduct clinical trials. 

Q: Are you interested in developing TMPRSS2 inhibitors?
A: We thought about that target, but we haven’t started any studies yet.