Relief Therapeutics sees 60-70% chance of COVID-19 drug approval

ZURICH (Reuters) - Relief Therapeutics’ chairman said he was optimistic its RLF-100 (aviptadil) drug will win approval for treating COVID-19 patients in a matter of months.

The Swiss group owns the rights to the drug in the United States and Europe. Its U.S. partner NeuroRx is running multicentre clinical trials here, including a Phase IIb/III trial in patients who are severely ill because of the consequences of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

“The active pharmaceutical ingredient of aviptadil has been used for a lot of years in different indications. From a safety standpoint we are quite optimistic,” Raghuram Selvaraju told Swiss newspaper The Market in an interview posted late on Friday.

“From an efficacy standpoint we need more data. I would say the probability at the moment stands at 60 to 70% that we will get the drug approved,” he added.

Selvaraju said trial results could emerge within a “few more months”.

“If we get meaningful data, I would expect that the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) would act in an expedient and collaborative manner. I do not anticipate that we would need ten to 12 months for approval,” he added.

Relief Therapeutics says aviptadil, a synthetic vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, is the first COVID-19 therapeutic to block replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in human lung cells.

Anticipation of progress has driven shares in the Geneva-based company sharply higher this year. They closed on Friday at 0.58 Swiss francs after starting the year at 0.0010 francs.

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Andrew Heavens