UoH start-up repurposing anti-diabetic drug for use in COVID-19 treatment

ReaGene Innovations Private Limited, a start-up incubated at the University of Hyderabad’s the ASPIRE-BioNEST, and INDRAS Private Limited have found that an anti-diabetic drug, Ertugliflozin, can be repurposed to treat COVID-19.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  1 July 2021 12:26 PM GMT
UoH start-up repurposing anti-diabetic drug for use in COVID-19 treatment

Hyderabad: ReaGene Innovations Private Limited, a start-up incubated at the University of Hyderabad's the ASPIRE-BioNEST, and INDRAS Private Limited have found that an anti-diabetic drug, Ertugliflozin, can be repurposed to treat COVID-19.

The findings indicate that repurposed drug not only binds effectively to the receptor binding domain of the spike protein of COVID-19 and 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.


This 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, the CEO of ReaGene Innovations. Ertugliflozin is an FDA approved drug for type-2 diabetes that works as SGLT-2 inhibitor by removing excessive glucose through urine.

INDRAS has prioritized about 8,000 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.

The path to find such a repurposed drug was critically planned and completed within a year of funding from the IT giant, Tech Mahindra. 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 coronavirus. We have applied for a joint patent," said Nikhil Malhotra, the global head of Makers Lab. The results are highly encouraging, he said, adding that further tests are yet to be conducted for this drug to be officially nominated as a therapeutic agent for COVID-19.

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