Study Treats Sickest COVID Patients With Multiple Myeloma Drug

Newton-based Karyopharm Therapeutics hopes to keep patients with severe cases of coronavirus off ventilators with a drug used for multiple myeloma

NBC Universal, Inc.

A Newton-based pharmaceutical company is treating patients with severe cases of the coronavirus with a drug approved to treat multiple myeloma as part of a new study to keep people off ventilators.

More than 230 patients enrolled in the second phase of the study, many of them in Boston, and researchers at Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc say they’re making progress.

"We’re encouraged by what we are seeing," CEO Dr. Michael Kauffman said. "We haven’t seen any safety issues that we are worried about. So it seems to be a tolerated therapy which is important."

Hospitalized patients with coronavirus are being treated with a low dose of a drug called Xpovio, which is currently approved to treat multiple myeloma. The goal is to keep patients with the most severe cases off a ventilator.

"We all need to work as hard as we possibly can and as fast as we can to study all different approaches and try to knock this thing on its head so we can help people recover and can move on," Kauffman said.

The trials are being conducted in the U.S., Europe and Israel.

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