PT150 is a modulator of glucocorticoid and androgen receptors with antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2

Neil D. Theise, Anthony R. Arment, Dimple Chakravarty, John M. H. Gregg, Ira M. Jacobson, Kie Hoon Jung, Sujit S. Nair, Ashutosh Tewari, Archie W. Thurston Jr., John Van Drie, Jonna B. Westover

PT150 is a clinical stage molecule, taken orally, with a strong safety profile having completed Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials for its original use as an antidepressant. It has an active IND for COVID-19. Antiviral activities have been found for PT150 and other members of its class in a variety of virus families; thus, it was now tested against SARS-CoV-2 in human bronchial epithelial lining cells and showed effective 90% inhibitory antiviral concentration (EC90) of 5.55 µM. PT150 is a member of an extended platform of novel glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and androgen receptor (AR) binding molecules. In vivo, their predominant net effect is one of systemic glucocorticoid antagonism, but they also show direct downregulation of AR and minor GR agonism at the cellular level. We hypothesize that anti-SARS CoV-2 activity depends in part on this AR downregulation through diminished TMPRSS2 expression and modulation of ACE2 activity. Given that hypercortisolemia is now suggested to be a significant co-factor for COVID-19 progression, we also postulate an additive role for its potent immunomodulatory effects through systemic antagonism of cortisol.


COVID-19, antiviral activity, SARS-CoV-2, EpiAirway, glucocorticoid receptor, androgen receptor, receptor binding molecules, TMPRSS2, ACE2

Materials Tested

PT150, SARS-CoV-2 strain USA-WA1/2020, Remdesivir

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