ZURICH (Reuters) – Unlisted Covis Pharma B.V. started a late-stage U.S. randomized trial of its asthma drug Alvesco in non-hospitalized patients with symptomatic COVID-19, hoping the inhaled drug treats symptoms and limits viral replication.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the company’s Investigational New Drug (IND) filing to study Alvesco – a glucocorticoid approved for the long-term treatment of asthma – in COVID-19 patients 12 years old and up, Covis said in a statement on Tuesday.

Covis, which is being acquired by Apollo Global Management, joins many companies repurposing their medicines for potential use against COVID-19, for which there is not yet an approved treatment or vaccine.

“We are committed to rapidly evaluating Alvesco as a potential treatment for this serious global health threat,” said Covis Chief Executive Michael Porter.

Based in Luxembourg with operations in Zug, Switzerland, Covis plans to enroll 400 patients at multiple clinical trial sites across the United States, it said. Alvesco is also being evaluated in COVID-19 trials in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Sweden and Britain, Covis said.

Funds managed by Apollo bought Covis, with more than a dozen products on the market, from Cerberus Capital Management [CBS.UL] earlier this year.


Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Ludwig Burger

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