The R-Pharm Group of companies, one of Russia’s leading biotech companies, has officially completed registration of Artlegia (olokizumab), a new drug which is initially designed for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis but which could be potentially recommended for the treatment of severe forms of COVID-19, according to the company, The Pharma Letter reported.
It is reported that implementation of the project is being carried out with the financial support of the VEB.RF financial corporation, which since 2015 has invested about 9.4 billion roubles ($150 million) in R&D work within the project.
Due to the ever worsening situation with the novel coronavirus pandemic and the ever growing number of patients with COVID-19 in Russia, R-Pharm have been forced to complete the clinical trials in which more than 200 patients received the therapy, which was conducted in 17 hospitals in Moscow and other cities of Russia.
So far, the production of olokizumab, which was licensed from Belgium’s leading pharma company UCB (Euronext Brussels: UCB) in 2013, has already started at the company’s capacities in Yaroslavl, with first deliveries to Russian hospitals already begun.
Vasily Ignatyev, R-Pharm’s general director, said the launch of Artlegia will contribute to better fight rheumatoid arthritis in Russia. In addition, according to him, it has a significant potential for the treatment of patients with autoimmune diseases, while the company currently continues to evaluate its effectiveness in treating the cytokine storm in patients with severe coronavirus infection, and is ready to present the research results soon.