A proposed Phase 2 clinical trial of the drug pentosan polysulfate sodium (PPS) will aim to treat Ross River and the related alphavirus chikungunya virus.
The viruses affect hundreds of thousands of people in South Asia each year and there is currently no effective treatment for either disease.
The viruses are transmitted by mosquitoes that lead to a range of debilitating symptoms and signs such as joint swelling, fatigue and fever.
Paul Rennie, CEO, commented: “We have an advantage in this scenario in that PPS has been used successfully and safely to treat other conditions for many decades, and so if we can prove its effectiveness for treating Ross River virus we may be able to get it to patients more quickly than usual.”
Pre-clinical trial of PPS
The potential for PPS to be used as an effective treatment for the Ross River virus was discovered by Griffith University scientist Dr Lara Herrero.
Dr Herrero’s pre-clinical research showed promising results that PPS can halt the progression of Ross River virus-induced disease.
In the pre-clinical model of Ross River virus, the drug PPS was shown to significantly decrease joint and muscle pathology and importantly reduce the ongoing complications of viral arthritis such as chronic joint signs and cartilage breakdown.
At the moment, patients are commonly administered anti-inflammatories and corticosteroids to provide pain relief for symptoms of the virus, which is reversed when the medication is stopped.
The hope is that PPS will be proven an effective way to stop the disease in its tracks and prevent its progress.
Paradigm is about to submit for ethics approval to commence Phase 2 of a clinical trial of PPS to treat Ross River virus.
The plan is to conduct the trial on a small number of human patients with the disease in Queensland and Victoria beginning in June 2017.
By repurposing and testing an existing drug, the company hoped to make an effective treatment for Ross River virus available much sooner than expected.
To take a new drug to Phase 2 trials can take over a decade with traditional pharmaceutical development pathways.
The company recently had its recommendation and price targets updated by covering brokers.
Baker Young has a Buy Recommendation on the stock with a $1.16 per share price target, while DJ Carmichael applying a Speculative Buy and a risked valuation of $1.32 per share.
Paradigm last traded at a significant discount to these prices, at $0.40 per share.