First experiment in space for COVID-19 drug research

News 11 November, 2020
Veklury®, a remdesivir-based medicament (i.e., remdesivir-SBECD complex) invented by Gilead Sciences Inc., has already been approved or authorized for temporary use in approximately 50 countries worldwide.  Hungarian companies InnoStudio Inc. and CycloLab Cyclodextrin R&D Laboratory Ltd. are going to investigate the potential effect of microgravity on the complex formation properties of remdesivir and SBECD.
Dr. Ferenc Darvas, Executive President of InnoStudio; Dr. Gergo Mezohegyi, Manager of the project; Dr. Lajos Szente, co-founder of CycloLab; and Dr. Istvan Puskas, Head of formulation development stated: ”Results of this project may contribute to a better understanding of the remdesivir-SBECD formulation mechanism, which will hopefully allow us to tailor the physico-chemical formulation process in order to reach elevated drug efficiency for COVID-19 treatment. Moreover, the potential enhancement of the remdesivir-SBECD ratio in the drug (i.e., lowering SBECD intake) will contribute to its lower risk application for coronavirus infected patients with decreased renal functions. Our study will try to combine advantages of microgravity environment with advanced drug research, while it is also a key initiative for the pharma industry to widen their development opportunities via space research.”

The companies will use research facilities of Japan Manned Space Systems Corporation (JP) and Space Applications Services (BE) and will launch their remdesivir samples to the European Space Agency’s Columbus module on the International Space Station (ISS) by the SpaceX Dragon cargo resupply mission (CRS-21) in early December 2020.

InnoStudio already executed successful drug discovery related experiments on the ISS in December 2019. CycloLab is the leading European manufacturer of SBECD.