ANA Therapeutics $5mn seed round for COVID-19 treatment

By William Smith
ANA Therapeutics is a Silicon Valley, California-based biotech company developing a coronavirus vaccine...

ANA Therapeutics is a Silicon Valley, California-based biotech company developing a coronavirus vaccine. 

Founded earlier this year, the company has announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared its investigation into using niclosamide capsules as a potential COVID-19 treatment, allowing for human trials.

The company said it would perform the trial with 400 COVID-19 afflicted patients at 10 centres across the US. Specifically, these will be places experiencing a current surge such as Florida and Texas - with the aim being to entol the first patient in August.

The trial will assess niclosamide’s safety and its potential to alleviate symptoms. Niclosamide is a pre-existing drug chiefly used to treat tapeworm infections, but pre-clinical research conducted by the company has shown it to stop coronavirus from replicating.

The company yesterday announced a seed round raising $5mn from 11 investors, including the organisations SV Tech Ventures, SV Angel, SOSV, Refactor Capital and On Air Investments.

In a press release, ANA Co-Founder and CEO Akash Bakshi said: “Safe and effective antiviral therapies are critically needed to treat COVID-19 now and treatments will continue to be necessary even if a vaccine is developed. This will be the first U.S.- based clinical trial to determine the efficacy of niclosamide in COVID-19. Anticipating that niclosamide may prove to be effective against COVID-19, we are already laying plans to make the drug accessible to everyone.”

The company said that if proven to work, niclosamide had other benefits including being well tolerated and low-cost.

“As a start-up and unlike large life science companies, ANA Therapeutics has already moved at lightning speed to get niclosamide into clinical trials,” said Sam Altman, former president of Y Combinator and now the CEO of OpenAI. “I’m thrilled to invest in the team’s critically important mission to develop a safe, effective, and widely available treatment for COVID-19.”

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