Trial fails of ruxolitinib in COVID-19 complications – Novartis

FILE PHOTO: A sign marks Novartis’ Institutes for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., January 2, 2020. Picture taken January 2, 2020. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) – Novartis said a late-stage clinical trial of ruxolitinib on top of standard therapy showed no significant reduction in severe complications of COVID-19, including death, respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation or admission to the intensive care unit.

The RUXCOVID trial also did not show relevant benefit for other endpoints including mortality rate by day 29 and time to recovery, the Swiss drugmaker said on Monday.

It was another setback as Novartis tries to repurpose drugs to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Novartis licensed ruxolitinib – an oral inhibitor of the JAK 1 and JAK 2 tyrosine kinases – from Incyte Corp for development and commercialization outside the United States.

It is approved under the trade name Jakavi in Europe and other regions for treating adult patients with some forms of polycythemia vera (PV) and primary myelofibrosis (MF).

“While the RUXCOVID trial did not give us the results we hoped for, we will continue working with the medical community to analyse its findings to better understand COVID-19 and the role of JAK inhibition,” said John Tsai, Novartis’s head of global drug development and chief medical officer.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is pictured at the French company’s headquarters in Rueil-Malmaison near Paris, France, April 22, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

The results of the RUXCOVID study do not affect any ongoing trials for ruxolitinib in non-COVID-19 diseases, Novartis said

Ruxolitinib is marketed in the United States as Jakafi.


Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Thomas Seythal and Louise Heavens


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