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NanoViricides clears major hurdle: Itís base polymer nanomaterial proves safe in animal studies
WEST NEW HAVEN, Conn.óFebruary 27, 2006óNanoViricides announced it has been informed of the initial positive test results from preliminary studies in Vietnam of its anti-influenza drug FluCide-I. The full report of its blind study in mice are not expected until late March, but the initial results "exceeded our expectations and indicate we are on target to meet the priority goal set by management to develop the worlds leading therapeutics for Influenza A and Bird Flu," according to company president Dr. Anil Diwan.
WEST HAVEN, Conn.óJust one month after initiating pre-clinical studies of an anti-viral drug against bird flu at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, NanoViricides Inc. announced that it's base polymer material has proven safe in a series of animal studies that used the equivalent of 50 times the projected human dose. With this safety data in hand, the company now turns its attention to pre-clincal studies using the base material to carry specific ligands that will target H5N1 (avian flu) as well as other common influenza viruses.
"Making sure the base material is safe is a very important step for us," says Anil Diwan, president and founder of NanoViricides. "Other nanomaterials that have been tested, such as carbon nanotubes were shown to be toxic, so these results allow us to move from the safety of the base polymer and onto efficacy studies targeting specific viruses."
These studies continue at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and are† under the direction of Dr. Krishna Menon, NanoViricides' chief regulatory officer. Further, the company announced that it will enter into specific studies targeting H5N1 at an unnamed World Health Organization approved research institution that has access to current bird flu strains. Studies there should commence in the first quarter of 2006, according to Leo Ehrlich, company CFO.
The concept behind TheraCour, the base technology of NanoViricides, has been in development since the early 1990s according to Diwan, though his patent on the technology is only a couple of years old. "Unlike many, I believe in filing late for a patent instead of early," he says. While current anti-viral medications can only partially inhibit the virus from multiplying, NanoViricides intends to create medications that will kill a specific virus, much as bacteriacides kill specific bacteria.
To do this, NanoViricides will use its TheraCour technology to develop what it calls "guided missiles" against a virus. These drugs will be composed of the base material with recognition ligands on the surface that target a specific virus. Once it is attached to the targeted virus, the nanoviricide completey encompasses the virus, thus preventing it from binding to human cells.
"If we are successful, our discovery could be compared to the discovery of Penicillin," says Diwan.But that still may be some time away. The company is hopeful that its compound targeting HIV may be gain a compassionate use classification and thus move it into limited use in the next couple of years. In the meantime, as it continues to prove its technology as effective, Ehrlich says the company is hopeful of attracting co-development deals and partnerships from pharmaceutical companies interested in leveraging their target libraries with NanoViricides' delivery technology.