Selva Therapeutics is a privately held biotechnology company dedicated to the development of therapeutics for infectious diseases.
The company’s lead drug candidate, SLV213, is a novel small molecule antiviral therapy with activity against a broad range of viruses that threaten global health, including SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. In addition, SLV213 has activity against Ebola and Nipah viruses as well as Chagas disease, a parasitic disease endemic to South and Central America, but also found in the southern half of the United States.
By rapidly developing SLV213 for COVID-19, Selva Therapeutics intends to bring a valuable treatment to the market that has the potential to fight multiple life-threatening infectious diseases and protect global health.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Selva has accelerated the development of SLV213 as a leading oral drug candidate against SARS-CoV-2.
Foundational research established the broad and potent antiviral activity of SLV213 against a range of viruses by inhibiting host cell cysteine proteases (Antiviral Research, 2015). Selva has generated additional data that shows SLV213 is also highly potent against SARS-CoV-2 and completed preclinical IND-enabling safety studies.
Clinical testing of SLV213 for SARS-CoV-2 is scheduled to begin as soon as the second half of 2020. While SLV213 can be dosed orally or intravenously, Selva is first advancing it as an oral drug candidate for COVID-19. There are many advantages to an oral therapeutic, including the ability to treat patients in an outpatient setting, a preferred treatment for mild to moderate and asymptomatic patients and for use as a prophylactic.
SLV213 is designed to block cathepsin L, a host cysteine protease used by the virus to enter host cells. The unique mechanism of action differentiates SLV213 from other treatments in the COVID-19 pipeline and suggests SLV213 could be:
Because many viruses use similar cell entry mechanisms, SLV213 could also treat a wide range of infectious diseases caused by viruses, including Nipah, SARS, and MERS. In addition, SLV213 has been shown to potently inhibit cruzain, a parasitic cysteine protease found in Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease.