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  • Antibiotic maker Recce Pharmaceuticals (RCE) has had two of its key products chosen for an important government antiviral screening program to help develop an effective treatment for COVID-19
  • Recce's RECCE 327 and RECCE 529 compounds have been selected for the program and placed in the Priority I candidate group
  • Essentially, this is the group of products deemed most likely to succeed
  • Recce's compounds will be tested in three steps: first in a lab, then in a model of human epithelial lung cells, and then in ferrets
  • The selection of the products is a strong vote of confidence for Recce
  • Company shares have been in a trading halt today so it's not yet sure how shareholders will react to the news
  • Recce last traded shares yesterday afternoon for 68 cents each

Antibiotic maker Recce Pharmaceuticals (RCE) has had two of its key products chosen for an important government antiviral screening program to help develop an effective treatment for COVID-19.

The program is being run by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the University of Melbourne at The Peter Doherty Institue for Infection and Immunology. It is part of a government initiative to find promising antiviral treatments and fast-track research into a potential COVID-19 treatment.

The two chosen products— namely RECCE 327 and RECCE 529 — have been placed in the Priority I candidate group. The company explained in an aftermarket announcement today this means its products are grouped with those seen as having the highest likelihood of antiviral or antiseptic efficacy. Essentially, these products are expected to be the most likely to succeed.

This is a big vote of confidence for Recce's products given the submissions for the SARS-CoV-2 Antiviral Screening Program were assessed by a panel of virology, antiviral, medicinal chemistry, and clinical trial experts.

The program will test Recce's products in three steps: in-vitro testing, ex-vivo testing, and in-vivo testing. The in-vitro step tests the products in a lab, the ex-vivo step tests them in a model of human epithelial lung cells at the Doherty Institute, and the in-vivo step tests the products in ferrets at CSIRO's Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness.

Importantly, Recce retains all intellectual property rights. The program is expected to take several months, but spending is staggered, meaning Recce will initially only need to spend what it called an "immaterial" amount of $35,000. As the testing advances to each next stage, spending will increase, but the company said it would keep shareholders posted with new details as they arise.

Recce Non-Executive Chairman Dr John Prendergast said the company is very pleased to have its compounds chosen by CSIRO for the program.

"The compounds' unique, universal mechanisms of action indicate potential to attack a broad range of viruses and as well, overcome the threat of viruses’ typical hyper-mutation into new and deadly pathogens," Dr John said.

RECCE 327 is a synthetic antibiotic initially designed to treat blood infections and sepsis, while RECCE 529 is a new synthetic polymer formulation which the company said was built upon its anti-infective expertise.

Recce shares were in a trading halt today so it's not yet sure how shareholders will react to the news. Shares last traded yesterday afternoon for 68 cents each.

RCE by the numbers
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