Fast-tracking program for the treatment of fibrosis to help hospitalised COVID-19 patients

San Francisco based Blade Therapeutics, backed by OneVentures, is a biotech company that develops small-molecule therapies for the treatment of lung and liver fibrosis as well as the effects of viral infection. Blade’s lead program, called BLD-2660, was developed to discover new therapeutic approaches that can control the effects of fibrosis, and thereby contribute to the treatment of a number of diseases.

As COVID-19 spread, pulmonary fibrosis emerged as a key concern in some patients recovering from pneumonia caused by COVID-19, even after mechanical ventilation. In response to this, Blade initiated a clinical program to study BLD-2660 in the treatment of COVID-19.

Within two months of recognising the potential of BLD-2660 in treating COVID-19 pneumonitis, the team at Blade filed and subsequently received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct a trial in hospitalised COVID-19 patients in the hope of heading off the hyper immune response that characterises this condition and preventing the resultant lung injury. The trial of 120 hospitalised patients, who were given Blade's oral drug twice a day over ten days, could be completed as soon as this spring.

With the help of OneVentures, Blade recently completed the first stage of trials in Australia. By doing research in Australia, it has not only fast-tracked the clinical development path, and investigational new drug approval by 12 months, but has also allowed the company to move the product directly into COVID-19 patients, creating the potential to have an impact during this global pandemic.

Dr Paul Kelly, OneVentures Managing Partner said “We are proud of the efforts made by the small team at Blade to address the COVID-19 crisis. Its proprietary compounds have very potent antiviral as well as other effects that provide multiple pathways and mechanisms to benefit patients with this condition. It’s especially pleasing to see how OneVentures investment and Australia’s early clinical trial program accelerated the path to approval from the FDA to initiate trials in COVID-19”.