Imatinib for ARDS


Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a severe, life-threatening medical condition characterized by widespread inflammation in the lungs secondary to a primary event, e.g., trauma, infection. It accounts for approx. 10% of all intensive care admissions, and is fatal in 40-55% of cases.
In the absence of any proven effective specific treatment, current treatment relies on supportive measures, coupled with the management of the primary event.
ARDS has been designated as an Orphan condition, but more people die from ARDS than from prostate or breast cancer.
Imatinib is a small molecular tyrosine kinase inhibitor, originally developed for the treatment of CML and marketed as Gleevec. It has been demonstrated in in vitro and in vivo studies and through case reports, that imatinib may have a direct effect on pulmonary endothelial barrier function.


Clinical Development

Imatinib is currently being advanced through human trials. The initial trial, which established product safety involved a challenge test to human volunteers. Full details are available on the website.

The second,  Phase II trial is being conducted at sites across The Netherlands, to assess oral imatinib for the treatment of patients with severe COVID-19 induced ARDS (COUNTER-COVID). Full details available on the EU Clinical trials register.

An additional Phase II trial is expected to commence in 1Q 2021, to investigate IV imatinib (ImpentriÒ) for the treatment of critically ill patients with COVID induced ARDS. This trial is being funded by IMI, and more details can be found at Impentri – Impentri_IMI2 (

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