Preliminary approval to finance production of Daewoong's tapeworm treatment medicine

By Lim Chang-won Posted : December 21, 2020, 13:39 Updated : December 21, 2020, 13:39

[Courtesy of Daewoong]

SEOUL -- Daewoong Pharmaceutical, a major bioengineering company in South Korea, has been selected as a candidate to receive state money for the production of niclosamide, a tapeworm treatment medicine that has been noted as an all-in-one treatment for COVID-19. The company aims to complete the second stage of clinical trials in the first of 2021 for emergency use.

Daewoong said that it has won preliminary approval from the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), a state body that supports the improvement of public health and enhances the competitiveness of South Korea's health industry. Final approval, which is expected to come in January 2021, will pave the way for Daewoo to receive government financial support for the construction of production facilities.

Institut Pasteur Korea, an infectious disease-focused research institute, has worked with a subsidiary of Daewoong to test the efficacy of niclosamide (DWRX2003), which basically starves tapeworms to death by inhibiting the glucose uptake, oxidative phosphorylation and anaerobic metabolism. Daewoong has been allowed to go ahead with clinical trials in India and the Philippines.

Daewoong aims to complete multi-national Phase 2 clinical trials in the first half of 2021 and obtain conditional permission or approval for emergency use in South Korea and other countries. Daewoong CEO Jeon Seng-ho said that KHIDI's approval would help Daewoong complete clinical trials and supply treatment drugs in South Korea and abroad.

The tapeworm treatment medicine is certain to shorten the treatment period and improve the survival rate of patients as it showed both antiviral effects and anti-inflammatory effects in lung tissue pathology tests, Daewoong said, adding DWRX2003 is effective against mutated viruses.

Daewoong has also acquired state approval to go ahead with final clinical trials to check the efficacy and safety of camostat mesilate, which is a potent serine protease inhibitor sold under the brand of Foistar. The company said on December 17 that Foistar's excellent inflammatory improvement was confirmed when it was medicated to COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms.
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