A Message from Our CEO about Zotatifin and COVID-19
Like you, eFFECTOR has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, both in some predictable ways, such as transitioning to working from home, and also in ways we never would have imagined just a few months ago.
eFFECTOR recently announced that an independent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature demonstrated that our cancer product candidate, zotatifin, showed in vitro antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Zotatifin, currently being tested in patients with solid tumors, is a small molecule inhibitor of eukaryotic initiation factor 4A (eIF4A), an enzyme that unwinds complex RNA structures. SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus that hijacks the human cellular machinery—including eIF4A—to replicate.
While this preclinical study is promising, I do not want to give anyone premature or false hope. These are early studies not conducted in humans. No evidence has yet been produced to demonstrate that zotatifin is an effective treatment for COVID-19 in patients.
While we remain focused on our cancer pipeline, we also recognize the urgency of the need for drugs to treat COVID-19. We are responding to this need by driving this innovation forward to bring benefit to patients as quickly as possible. But drug development driven by scientific rigor takes time and resources.
Evaluating the therapeutic potential of zotatifin to combat COVID-19 requires submission of regulatory filings, clinical trials and manufacturing of sufficient quantities of the product candidate to support clinical testing, as well as the financing to support those activities. eFFECTOR is currently in contact with members of the biopharmaceutical and clinical communities, NIAID, and funding sources to determine how best to advance zotatifin to potentially help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. We will provide updates on the status of this development effort in the future as we finalize our plans.
In the meantime, from the eFFECTOR family to yours, we wish you health and wellbeing during these unprecedented times. We are all in this together.
Steve Worland, Ph.D.