Partner Therapeutics Announces Initiation of Clinical Trial to Evaluate Leukine in Patients with COVID-19 Associated Respiratory Illness – PRNewswire

By daniellenierenberg

LEXINGTON, Mass., March 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --Partner Therapeutics, Inc. (PTx) announced that Leukine (sargramostim, rhu-GM-CSF)is being assessed in the SARPAC trial (sargramostim inpatients withacute hypoxic respiratory failure due toCOVID-19 EudraCT #2020-001254-22) at University Hospital Ghent to treat patients with respiratory illness associated with COVID-19. Major medical centers in Germany, Italy and Spain are considering joining the study. The study will evaluate the effect of Leukine on lung function and patient outcomes.

"Patients with COVID-19 who progress to acute hypoxic respiratory failure due to COVID-19 have very limited treatment options and a high mortality rate," said Prof. Bart Lambrecht, Principal Investigator for the trial at University Hospital Ghent and the Flanders Institute of Biotechnology (VIB). "We rapidly initiated this study with Leukine, because GM-CSF has profound effects on antiviral immunity, can provide the stimulus to restore immune homeostasis in the lung, and can promote lung repair mechanisms."

Granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is essential for the health of the lungs. Alveolar macrophages, a cell type found in the lungs, are dependent on GM-CSF for differentiation and normal functioning. GM-CSF is an immunomodulator that plays a critical role in host defense against pathogens and maintaining proper functioning of the immune system.1 GM-CSF confers resistance to influenza by enhancing innate immune mechanisms.2 In animal studies, GM-CSF reduced morbidity and mortality due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) from viral pneumonia.3 In clinical studies, use of Leukine showed beneficial effects in patients with viral pneumonia.4,5 Recent data highlight the importance of understanding the immune status of patients and role of immunomodulating agents like GM-CSF to activate the immune system to help clear virus and reduce the risk of secondary infections.6

"Partner Therapeutics is committed to investigating Leukine in patients with COVID-19 and we are working with academic and government agencies here in the US and in Europe in this effort," said Dr. Debasish Roychowdhury, Chief Medical Officer at Partner Therapeutics. "We believe, like many investigators and scientists, that GM-CSF has multiple ways by which it may help these patients, including playing a role in clearing the infection, boosting the immune system and repairing damaged tissues."

"In pre-clinical studies, GM-CSF protects the lungs from viral pneumonia and the influenza A virus", stated E. Scott Halstead, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Penn State University College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. "Preliminary data indicate an apparent benefit of inhaled Leukine therapy for autoimmune pulmonary alveolar proteinosis ("aPAP") and suggest it has reduced the need for whole lung lavage therapy for patients receiving treatment. Collectively, the data suggest that aerosolized Leukine may prove to be a meaningful therapy to decrease mortality and increase ventilator-free days in patients with respiratory disorders associated with viruses such as COVID-19 and Influenza A."

For the treatment of COVID-19 associated acute hypoxic respiratory failure and ARDS, Leukine will be used in nebulized form for direct inhalation or through intravenous administration for patients already on a respirator. Nebulized Leukine has been studied in phase 2 and phase 3 randomizedtrials in pulmonary conditions that affect alveolar macrophages, such as aPAP. IV administration of Leukine has been studied extensively in other conditions and in phase 2 randomized trials in ARDS.

Leukine was initially approved in the United States in 1991 and has been approved for use in five clinical indications. Its safety and tolerability profile are well understood. In 2018, Leukine was approved for use as a medical countermeasure to treat Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS) and has been procured for use by the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile. Leukine is distributed outside the U.S. on a named-patient basis through PTx's designated program manager, Tanner Pharma Group. The use of Leukine to treat respiratory disorders associated with COVID-19 is investigational and has not been fully evaluated by any regulatory authority.

Please see full Prescribing Information for LEUKINE at

About Leukine(sargramostim)Leukine is a yeast-derived recombinant humanized granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (rhuGM-CSF) and the only FDA approved GM-CSF. GM-CSF is an important leukocyte growth factor known to play a key role in hematopoiesis, epithelial repair, and augmentation of innate host defense by effecting the growth and maturation of multiple cell lineages as well as the functional activities of these cells in antigen presentation and cell mediated immunity.

Important Safety Information for LEUKINE (sargramostim)


Warnings and Precautions

Adverse Reactions

Adverse events occurring in >10% of patients receiving LEUKINE in controlled clinical trials and reported in a higher frequency than placebo are:

Please see full Prescribing Information for LEUKINE at

Indications and Usage

LEUKINE (sargramostim) is a leukocyte growth factor indicated for the following uses:

About Partner Therapeutics, Inc.: PTx is an U.S.-based commercial-stage biotech company focused on the development and commercialization of therapeutics that improve health outcomes in the treatment of cancer. PTx's development focus spans the entire range of cancer therapy from primary treatments to supportive care. The company believes in delivering great products with the purpose of creating the best possible outcomes for patients and their families.


Cited References

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SOURCE Partner Therapeutics, Inc.

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Partner Therapeutics Announces Initiation of Clinical Trial to Evaluate Leukine in Patients with COVID-19 Associated Respiratory Illness - PRNewswire

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