Hyderabad: Joint research suggests anti-diabetic drug may help in treating COVID-19

Hyderabad: A joint research by City-based startup ReaGene Innovations Private Limited and INDRAS Private Limited has suggested that repurposing an anti-diabetic drug may be useful in COVID-19 treatment. Ertugliflozin, the diabetes drug in question, is an FDA approved drug for type-2 diabetes. It removes excessive glucose through urine.

The repurposed drug, Ertugliflozin, from the in-vitro and in-silico studies, respectively, might provide a therapeutic solution to the COVID-19 infection, ReaGene Innovations Private Limited and INDRAS Private Limited said.

“Their findings indicate that this repurposed drug not only binds effectively to the receptor binding domain of the spike protein of COVID-19 further blocks binding to human ACE2, but also displays significant anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic properties in a 3D human vascular lung model, both of which are fundamentals in COVID-19 infection,” said a statement from the University of Hyderabad today on the research.

ReaGene Innovations Private Limited is based in ASPIRE-BioNEST, a life sciences incubator jointly funded by BIRAC, a section-8 not-for-profit organization of Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India, and University of Hyderabad (UoH) for nurturing scaling technologies through entrepreneurship located in UoH’s School of Life Sciences.

The statement from UoH claimed that the joint research by ReaGene and INDRAS is the first result that offers a safe, ready-to-use, cost-effective solution to humans who contract COVID-19. “It has immense potential to treat COVID-19 infection, and our research proves its efficacy in the test-tube assays”, said Dr. Uday Saxena, CEO of ReaGene Innovations, which was co-founded with Dr. Subramanyam Vangala, and Dr. Sreedhara Voleti, MD of INDRAS. 

INDRAS focuses on consulting, contracting, and collaborative solutions to in-silico drug design. It has prioritized about 8000 FDA approved drugs to top-10 from their computational studies, which were further experimented by ReaGene Innovations for various in-vitro assays on cytokine storm, antithrombotic properties, and inflammatory marker reduction through various in vitro assays, said the statement from UoH.

The plan to figure out a repurposed drug was critically planned and completed within a year of funding from the IT giant, Tech Mahindra. The Tech Mahindra team led by Dr. Ratnakar Palakodeti, Global Practice Head of Life Sciences, and Mr. Nikhil Malhotra, Global head of Makers Lab, together with the scientific partnership of INDRAS and ReaGene, brought this innovation out, which might be helpful globally to those affected by COVID-19.

The outcomes of the results of this research were recently published in a journal (BioRxIV) and a patent was filed both in India as well as PCT. “We have found a molecule that can potentially attack corona virus. We have applied for a joint patent,” Malhotra said. The obtained results are highly encouraging, and further in animal models towards preclinical, and clinical outcomes in humans are yet to be conducted for this drug to be officially nominated as a therapeutic agent for COVID-19, added the release.