(OTC BB: NNVC.OB) (the "Company"), development stage company that
is creating special purpose nanomaterials for viral therapy, announced today
that it has signed a pre-clinical study agreement for the evaluation of FluCide™,
NanoViricides' universal anti-influenza drug candidate. The study will
be conducted by Thevac, LLC, a spin-off of the Louisiana State University (LSU),
Baton Rouge, LA. It will be performed in collaboration with the Division of
Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine,
which administers the LSU-Tulane Center for Experimental Infectious Disease
Research (Director, K. G. Kousoulas, PhD).
The study will initially evaluate effectiveness of nanoviricide™ drug
candidates against a virulent H1N1 strain which caused a severe outbreak in
1930. This well-characterized virus is expected to be a good surrogate for the
current 2009 H1N1 influenza (“swine flu”) that is in the pre-pandemic
stage according to the WHO. The study will then be expanded to include other
influenza subtypes that are feared to be on the horizon, such as H3N2.
“We are very pleased to have a recognized expert like Dr. Kousoulas associated
with this study,” said Eugene Seymour, MD, MPH, Chief Executive Officer
of NanoViricides, Inc.
The Company has previously reported that a prior version of FluCide drug candidate
was superior in its effect by a very large margin when compared to oseltamivir
(Tamiflu®, Roche) in an animal study. The Company has also previously reported
that the same drug candidate was highly effective in cell culture studies against
two different kinds of H5N1 bird flu virus, namely Vietnam 2004 Clade I virus,
and Vietnam 2006 Clade II virus. The latter is closely related to the Indonesia
2006 H5N1 virus that is currently causing human fatalities in Indonesia.
“We have significantly improved the chemistry of the anti-influenza nanoviricide,
both in terms of the ligand, and in terms of the backbone polymer since those
early studies,” said Anil R. Diwan, Ph.D., President of the Company, adding,
“We expect the new drug candidate to be even more effective than the previous
one. This improved candidate is also expected to be effective against a much
broader spectrum of influenza viruses than the previous one.”
NanoViricides, Inc. believes that it is possible to design a single drug capable
of attacking most if not all influenza viruses because all influenza viruses
use the same cell surface receptor, called sialic acid. While sialic acid occurs
in two distinct conformations, the Company believes that it has designed ligands
that may be capable of mimicking both of these conformations. A nanoviricide
is a cell surface mimetic, and thus is designed to trap a virus particle that
is targeted by the ligand attached to the nanoviricide surface. Such trapping
may be expected to lead to disassembly of the virus particle, or complete killing
of the virus. This represents a substantial advance beyond immunotherapeutics,
or use of antibodies to combat viral diseases.
“The NanoViricides technology appears to be very promising for treating
a variety of viral diseases including influenza,” says Dr. Kousoulas.
Dr. Kousoulas has been previously involved with several influenza animal studies.