Appili Therapeutics Announces Agreement with FUJIFILM and Funding Support for Clinical Trial Program Evaluating Avigan®/Reeqonus™ for COVID-19 Patients
New Funds Will Help Expedite Completion of Recently Expanded Pivotal Phase 3 Study on Oral Antiviral Medicine
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, September 20, 2021 – Appili Therapeutics Inc. (TSX: APLI; OTCQX: APLIF) (the “Company” or “Appili”), a biopharmaceutical company focused on drug development for infectious diseases, today announced it entered into an agreement with FUJIFILM Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd. (“FFTC”), that will provide funding support for its Phase 3 PRESECO (PREventing SEvere COVID-19) clinical trial. The new funding of $1,000,000 USD was secured from FFTC, one of the Company’s partners in a global consortium focused on the worldwide development, commercialization, and distribution of Avigan®/Reeqonus™ (favipiravir) tablets for the potential treatment and prevention of COVID-19.
The new funding will support various components of the recently expanded PRESECO trial, including study close-out activities as the Company prepares for database lock and top-line results. Enrollment targets for PRESECO and the viral shedding sub-study were recently increased to enable additional enrollment of COVID-19 variant cases and maximize the number of patients in the final analysis. As part of the agreement, FFTC will receive direct access to PRESECO data in support of local regulatory submissions in Japan. PRESECO is investigating the safety and efficacy of Avigan/Reeqonus in the early treatment outpatient setting for adults infected with COVID-19.
“FFTC recognizes the unmet need of this pandemic, which is the lack of safe, effective oral antiviral medicines to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients. With FFTC’s support, we are one step closer to determining if Avigan/Reeqonus will meet this need,” said Dr. Armand Balboni, Chief Executive Officer, Appili Therapeutics.
Avigan/Reeqonus is a broad-spectrum antiviral in oral tablet form. It is a selective inhibitor of viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) with potent antiviral activity against single-stranded RNA viruses, including coronaviruses. Developed by FFTC and originally approved in Japan as a treatment for pandemic influenza, this product is one of the few oral antiviral candidates in Phase 3 clinical development to treat newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients.
“We share the sense of urgency that so many physicians and nurses have expressed globally for the need of new treatments developed that will help bring this pandemic to an end. We remain confident Avigan/Reeqonus will play an important role in North America, Japan, and around the world in the treatment of COVID-19 now, and in the near future,” said Junji Okada, President, FUJIFILM Toyama Co., Ltd.
About the PRESECO Clinical Trial
The Phase 3 PRESECO (PREventing SEvere COVID-19 Disease) study is a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, multi-center superiority trial investigating the safety and efficacy of Avigan/Reeqonus in the early treatment for adults infected with COVID-19 and showing mild-to-moderate symptoms. Investigators are enrolling participants at multiple clinical trial sites in the United States, Brazil and Mexico. Participants are outpatients with mild-to-moderate symptoms who have had a recent positive COVID-19 test (within 72 hours of enrollment). Participants self-administer the drug regimen in their homes, with clinical investigators monitoring patients remotely.
Avigan/Reeqonus is a broad-spectrum antiviral in oral tablet form. It is a selective inhibitor of viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) with potent antiviral activity against single-stranded RNA viruses, including coronaviruses. Developed by FUJIFILM Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd. (FFTC) and approved in Japan as a treatment and stockpile countermeasure for pandemic influenza. Unlike most other interventions that researchers are evaluating in COVID-19, Avigan/Reeqonus has already been thoroughly studied in human trials and has a well-known safety profile, with over 3,000 subjects receiving at least one dose of the drug. Avigan/Reeqonus’ oral tablet form is shelf-stable and has an established commercial manufacturing process, which may provide advantages over other COVID-19 interventions, which often require temperature-controlled storage and/or injection or intravenous administration.
Appili has joined a consortium of companies, including Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Global Response Aid, and FFTC, for the worldwide development and distribution of Avigan/Reeqonus tablets for the potential treatment and prevention of COVID-19 (excluding Japan, China, and Russia). This consortium is designed to ensure that Avigan/Reeqonus is thoroughly evaluated in rigorous clinical studies and, if it receives the proper regulatory approvals, has the infrastructure in place to support worldwide manufacturing and distribution.
About Appili Therapeutics
Appili Therapeutics is an infectious disease biopharmaceutical company that is purposefully built, portfolio-driven, and people-focused to fulfill its mission of solving life-threatening infections. By systematically identifying urgent infections with unmet needs, Appili’s goal is to strategically develop a pipeline of novel therapies to prevent deaths and improve lives. As part of a global consortium, Appili is sponsoring late-stage clinical trials evaluating the antiviral Avigan/Reeqonus for the worldwide treatment and prevention of COVID-19. The Company is also advancing a diverse range of anti-infectives, including a broad-spectrum antifungal, a vaccine candidate to eliminate a serious biological weapon threat, and two novel antibiotic programs. Led by a proven management team, Appili is at the epicenter of the global fight against infection. For more information, visit www.AppiliTherapeutics.com.
About FUJIFILM Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd. (FFTC)
FFTC is an operating company of FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation, Tokyo, Japan. FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation brings cutting edge solutions to a broad range of global industries by leveraging its depth of knowledge and fundamental technologies developed in its relentless pursuit of innovation. Its proprietary core technologies contribute to the various fields including healthcare, highly functional materials, document solutions and imaging products. These products and services are based on its extensive portfolio of chemical, mechanical, optical, electronic and imaging technologies. For the year ended March 31, 2021, the company had global revenues of $21 billion, at an exchange rate of 106 yen to the dollar. Fujifilm is committed to responsible environmental stewardship and good corporate citizenship. For more information, please visit: www.fujifilmholdings.com
Forward looking statements
This news release contains “forward-looking statements,” which reflect the current expectations of the Company’s management for future growth, results of operations, performance and business prospects and opportunities, including statements with respect to: the design, scope, parameters and location of the proposed Avigan® /Reeqonus (generic name: favipiravir) clinical trials and the likelihood that such clinical trials will be consummated on the terms and timeline provided herein or at all; the anticipated timing for completion of each study and the release of study data; the potential use of favipiravir for the treatment of COVID-19 (including as an early treatment of COVID-19 to control disease progression and limit virus spread); and the development, manufacturing and commercialization plans of the parties with respect to favipiravir. Wherever possible, words such as “may,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “will,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “plan,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “potential for” and similar expressions have been used to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward looking statements contained in this press release are provided in reliance on certain assumptions, including with respect to: timing of clinical results; securing all requisite required approvals and funding for the applicable clinical trials; finalizing mutually acceptable clinical trial agreement and related agreements with the applicable clinical research organizations relating to the applicable clinical trials; site and patient enrolment; other expectations and assumptions concerning the proposed clinical trials (including with respect to the continuation and/or expansion of the clinical trials, the timely completion of such trials and their potential outcomes and benefits); and the ability of the parties to successfully develop, manufacture and commercialize favipiravir for the treatment of COVID-19 following successful completion of the requisite clinical trials and receipt of all requisite regulatory and other approvals. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, the Company cannot give assurance that these expectations will prove to have been correct.
Forward-looking statements involve significant known and unknown risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including, without limitation, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties; known and unknown risks and liabilities relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; risks relating to the inability of Appili to initiate or complete all requisite clinical trials (including risks relating to the outcome thereof) and to secure all required funding and approvals relating thereto; risks relating to the development, manufacturing and commercialization of favipiravir in Canada, the U.S and other jurisdictions; unforeseen events, developments, or factors causing any of the aforesaid expectations and assumptions not to be correct; and the other risk factors listed in the annual information form of the Company dated June 23, 2021 and the other filings made by the Company with the Canadian securities’ regulatory authorities (which may be viewed under the Company’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com). Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize or should assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements prove incorrect, actual results, performance or achievements may vary materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in this news release. These factors should be considered carefully, and prospective investors should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to revise forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by law.
The Company is not making any express or implied claims that it has the ability to eliminate, cure or contain the COVID-19 (or SARS-2 Coronavirus) at this time.
Danielle Raabe/APCO Worldwide
Investor Relations Contact
Stéphane Paquette; Senior Director, Corporate Development