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Amgen’s Otezla in COVID Therapy Trial

Thousand Oaks-based Amgen Inc.’s drug Otezla will appear in a COVID-19 clinical trial, as part of testing efforts by the COVID R&D Alliance consortium of companies.The Community trial announced Monday will use Otezla in combination with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.’s lanadelumab and zilucoplan by Belgian company UCB Pharmaceuticals to treat uncontrolled vascular and immune inflammatory responses in COVID-19 patients.Otezla was originally developed to treat psoriasis. Lanadelumab and zilucoplan are investigational drugs developed to reduce swelling in patients suffering from immune diseases.“Working hand-in-hand with our peers, we hope to find options that could potentially save lives of the patients who will need treatments for COVID-19 before widespread availability of a vaccine,” Dr. David Reese, vice president of research and development at Amgen, said in a statement.The Community trial will test COVID patients in the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and other countries, Amgen said. “This geographic diversity will allow the trial sites to be active when cases spike locally,” the biotech giant added in its statement Monday.Otezla is also being tested in the Alliance’s I-SPY COVID trial, along with Takeda’s Firazyr and a liver fibrosis drug in development by AbbVie Inc.The COVID R&D Alliance formed in April, is made up of more than 20 biopharmaceutical and life science companies to focus on developing potential therapies for COVID-19 and its related symptoms.Shares of Amgen (AMGN) closed up $3.04, or 1.4 percent, to $225.08 on the Nasdaq on Tuesday, a day when the overall Nasdaq was up 1.5 percent.

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