Shares of Vancouver-based clinical-stage pharmaceuticals company Algernon Pharmaceuticals Inc. (CSE: AGN) jumped 2.5 cents on 1.49 million shares on Wednesday after announcing it had submitted an application to Health Canada for a phase 2b/3 trial for a COVID-19-related therapy.
According to the release, the prospective trial will help determine whether Algernon's Ifenprodil drug "can improve clinical symptoms and reduce the number of COVID-19 infected patients from progressing to mechanical ventilation with intubation and death."
Ifendril, also known as NP-120 affects, receptors in nerve cells to inhibit glutamate signalling. The company says this theoretically reduces the flood of T-cells and neutrophils—two types of white blood cells—into the lungs where they can release glutamate and cytokines, causing the "cytokine storm" that can lead to death in COVID-19 patients.
Algernon takes drugs approved outside the US and Europe and works to repurpose them for other disease applications. The company was already planning to conduct trials on Ifendril for fibrosis and chronic cough back in December but has pivoted amid the pandemic.
Prior to its first announcement that it would be looking at Ifendril to treat COVID-19 back in early March, Algernon shares were trading at just 9 cents. Since then, they've increased all the way to 45.5 cents, buoyed by promising feedback from the US Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada.