Testing on patients begins for new experimental drug for sepsis

A new drug candidate to treat sepsis has now entered clinical trials in patients in Australia after successfully completing Phase 1a trials in healthy volunteers, reports Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics.

The sepsis drug candidate, co-invented by researchers at the Institute for Glycomics, was licensed to China Grand Pharma’s Australian-based subsidiary Grand Medical Limited, who is currently developing the drug candidate with Griffith University and the Australian National University.

“It’s exciting to see our innovative drug, STC3141, now being trialled on sepsis patients. It had previously passed safety and tolerability measures in Phase 1a clinical trials,” Professor Mark von Itzstein AO, Director of the Institute for Glycomics and co-inventor of the technology, said.

Researchers at Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics used a sugar-based approach to synthesise the small-molecule drug, which can treat sepsis by reversing organ damage.

“Sepsis is known to affect millions of hospitalised patients across the world each year and occurs when the body’s immune response to an infection attacks and injures its own tissues and organs,” Professor von Itzstein said.

“When sepsis is not recognised early and managed promptly, it can lead to septic shock, multiple organ failure and death.”

It is estimated that in 2017 there were 48.9 million cases and 11 million sepsis-related deaths worldwide, which accounted for almost 20% of all global deaths. That year, almost half of all global sepsis cases occurred in young children.

“The translational outcomes of the sepsis drug candidate would be of global magnitude and would significantly reduce the burden on the healthcare system in managing sepsis infections,” Professor von Itzstein said.

“We look forward to monitoring the progress of the current trials in patients who are presently suffering from this debilitating disease.”