Cocrystal Soars on New Drug Candidates

Cocrystal Pharma, Inc. (NASDAQ:COCP) shares rose sharply in early Tuesday trading. Cocrystal Pharma recently announced progress on its COVID-19 antiviral drug candidates that target coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, and it also plans to launch a second COVID-19 program with additional antiviral compounds for development, apart from CDI-45205.

The Washington state clinical-stage biotech firm said its CDI-45205 showed good bioavailability in mouse and rat pharmacokinetic studies via intraperitoneal injection and no cytotoxicity against various human cell lines.

The company recently demonstrated a strong synergistic effect with the FDA-approved COVID-19 medicine remdesivir, developed by Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD).

At the same time, Cocrystal also said it plans to launch a second COVID-19 program with additional antiviral compounds for development. The company is also developing novel SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors that block viral replication and transcription.

According to CEO Gary Wilcox, "Public health officials are calling for the urgent development of potent antivirals that inhibit the replication cycle of SARS-CoV-2.

"Among the significant challenges scientists face is inhibiting viral replication without damaging the inner workings of healthy cells. Cocrystal’s approach to drug discovery could provide a solution for designing antivirals for use against a range of viruses, including coronaviruses, with limited off-target interaction."

Merck (NYSE:MRK) and Swiss drugmaker Roche are also in pursuit of a treatment that would stop the progress of COVID-19 in infected patients. So far, Gilead’s remdesivir is the only antiviral medication shown to help hospitalized patients.

COCP shares jumped 36 cents, or 29%, to $1.60.