Healthcare Business

Vanda Pharma's Big Step Forward in COVID-19 Pneumonia

Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: VNDA) took another big step forward in the fight against COVID-19 on Tuesday morning. The company announced that interim analysis showed tradipitant may accelerate clinical improvement in SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pneumonia in the Odyssey study.

The interim analysis of the Odyssey study demonstrated that hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia improved sooner when treated with tradipitant versus the placebo. This finding was based on a preliminary analysis of the first 60 patients enrolled in the study.

Currently, Odyssey is an ongoing Phase 3 trial investigating the efficacy and safety of tradipitant, a neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist, in the treatment of neurogenic inflammation of the lung secondary to SARS-CoV-2 infection, which was initiated in April 2020. The study is expected to enroll 300 patients, and as of July 15, 2020, 60 patients had enrolled and completed the study.

In the study, clinical status was assessed on a seven-point scale ranging from death to mechanical ventilation, various levels of oxygen requirements and hospital discharge. Clinical improvement was defined as at least a two-point improvement in the scale.

As it stands, the interim analysis in the first 60 enrolled patients showed that similar percentages of patients improved between the two treatment arms, 57% for tradipitant and 50% for placebo. The mortality rate was also similar between the treatment groups with 14.2% for tradipitant and 16.6% for placebo.

One thing to point out is that this early analysis suggests that tradipitant may act by accelerating the time to clinical improvement for patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. If confirmed, this effect may be of significant clinical benefit for patients, as well as for public health, by decreasing the number of resources employed in the treatment of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia.

Management was quick to note that although these results are preliminary, they are encouraging. A larger sample size would be required to determine definitively whether tradipitant offers a therapeutic benefit in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia by accelerating time to clinical improvement.

Vanda Pharma stock traded up about 3% to $11.96 Tuesday morning, in a 52-week range of $7.12 to $17.85. The consensus price target is $18.33.