• Kyodo

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Japanese pharmaceutical firm Eisai Co. is set to start clinical trials in the United States of its experimental drug eritoran in the battle against coronavirus, with results potentially available by the year-end, the company said Wednesday.

Eisai will test eritoran, initially developed to treat severe sepsis, in conjunction with U.S.-based nonprofit organization Global Coalition Adaptive Research, formed of medical experts tasked with discovering cures for rare and deadly diseases.

Eisai’s clinical trials to treat sepsis ended in 2011 due to disappointing results but it hopes eritoran, designed to suppress an overactive immune response, will help treat COVID-19 patients while preventing damage to their lungs and other organs.

The project, which will eventually recruit up to 500 test patients globally, will be carried out under the international framework “Randomized, Embedded, Multifactorial, Adaptive Platform trial for Community-Acquired Pneumonia,” which develops coronavirus treatments.

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