Delaware-based Incyte said a study using their commercially available drug ruxolitinib (Jakafi®) did not meet desired results in treating symptoms of COVID-19.

Peter Langmuir, Incyte's Vice President of Targeted Therapies, said the company received anecdotal information from China about the use of ruxolitinib, enough to launch a controlled study with Novartis.

"[It] was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ruxolitinib in hospitalized patients with COVID infections," said Langmuir.

Langmuir called the novel coronavirus the "public health crisis of our lifetime," and said even though the study did not provide positive results, it will be one of his proudest career moments.

"Even though the study was not successful, what we saw is everyone stepping up to do whatever they could to find a solution," said Langmuir.

The company said they will continue to analyze study data to determine any potential impact on other studies of ruxolitinib in patients with COVID-19, and the study will be submitted for publication.

“Given the urgent nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need for treatments for patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 associated cytokine storm, the results of the RUXCOVID study are disappointing,” said Steven Stein, M.D., Chief Medical Officer.

“However, we hope that these findings will contribute to the scientific understanding of this complex disease and to the collective efforts of the biopharma industry to find solutions that improve outcomes for patients with COVID-19.”

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