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Verge puts ALS target through COVID-19 paces, leaning on preclinical partners

Neuro company Verge aims its PIKFYVE inhibitors at COVID-19

After a drug repositioning screen flagged Verge’s ALS target PIKFYVE as an Achilles heel for COVID-19, the neurodegeneration-focused biotech jumped into infectious disease by tapping the growing ecosystem of partners with industrialized SARS-CoV-2 assays.

That infrastructure, combined with the urgency of the pandemic, could enable Verge Genomics Inc.’s new COVID-19 program to leapfrog its lead candidate into the clinic.

Verge’s original PIKFYVE inhibitor is slated to enter the clinic in early 2021 for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). CEO Alice Zhang said the company is aiming to get a different PIKFYVE inhibitor, optimized for antiviral activity, into patients within the next six months.

The AI-based neuro company’s path to

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