Mubadala healthcare backs drug trial for COVID-19 patients with diabetes

ABU DHABI, In line with its drive to strengthen the UAE’s leading role in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic on an international scale, Mubadala Healthcare is part-funding the trial of an immune-dampening drug in the UK that will help patients with diabetes overcome the effects of the virus.

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Agency approved the trial, known as ARCADIA, following preclinical research that suggests a glucose kinase activator (AZD1656) could help diabetes patients with COVID-19 by dampening the overactive response of the immune system that is typically acute in those patients with raised blood glucose levels.

The trial commenced on 29th September 2020, and involved hospitalised patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms. If successful, the compound could ultimately be prescribed by a primary care physician for people with diabetes presenting with early COVID-19 symptoms.

Abdulla Abdul Aziz Al Shamsi, Head of Mubadala Healthcare, said, “We are delighted to be involved in this collaboration as it has great potential benefit for the UAE. There are more than one million people living with diabetes in our country, and this group is identified as being particularly vulnerable to effects of the COVID-19. This investment is one of many Mubadala Healthcare is making to enable the UAE government and population to mitigate the effects of the disease, and provide the resources needed to support local and international efforts that will lead to solutions for this pandemic.”

The compound was initially developed by Anglo-Swedish pharmaceuticals group, AstraZeneca, for another clinical purpose, but research by UK-based biomedical research charity St George Street Capital Limited, SGS, discovered its immune-dampening effects. As a result, agreements were signed whereby SGS has the right to conduct the clinical trials. The trial will be conducted by Excalibur Medicines Limited, EML. Mubadala Healthcare, Excalibur, several private partners, and the UK Government through the UKRI/Innovate UK programme is providing the research grant for the anticipated drug.

EML founder Prof Sir Chris Evans said, “The funding from Mubadala Healthcare and our other partners will allow us to fast-track this research. All of us supporting this trial recognise this drug has the potential to make a huge difference to people with diabetes who are unfortunate enough to contract coronavirus and we foresee a significant impact on the level of fatalities in the future. Treatments such as this could be vital as we are likely to be living with this virus for some time to come.”

David Tapolczay, CEO of SGS, said, “Given the current crisis, we have paused all our current research programme to focus totally on this clinical trial and evaluate this potentially life-saving new drug. Our charity was set up to accelerate the delivery of treatments to patients and this ethos is needed now more than ever before. We want to do everything in our power to ensure patients recover from this terrible virus.”

Prof John Martin, Chairman of SGS and Principal Investigator on the grant awarded by UKRI, said, “Novel research thinking in an interdisciplinary group combined with the financial support of Mubadala, the drive of the charity and the excellent relationship we have with AstraZeneca have produced the potential for a great therapeutic leap. This also has potential for non-diabetic patients with COVD-19.”


Source: Emirates News Agency