NanoViricides, Inc., a nanomedicine company developing anti-viral drugs, reported further progress in its anti-Ebola drug development program. The Company has designed novel anti-Ebola broad-spectrum drug candidates that are expected to continue to work in spite of mutations, and has commenced synthesis of the same.
Dr. Eugene Seymour, MD, MPH, CEO of the Company, will present information about the Company’s programs, with particular reference to the current Ebola outbreak in Africa, at the Rodman and Renshaw Investment Conference in New York City this afternoon. He will also discuss some of the difficulties that could be encountered in attempts to bring the Ebola epidemic under control. Dr Seymour has extensive field experience in the area of infectious diseases. He has previously worked on HIV/AIDS in Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia.
The Company had previously developed anti-Ebola drug candidates that demonstrated the validity and potential of the Company’s approach, based on cell culture and animal testing conducted at US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in a BSL-4 facility. The Company had to de-prioritize this development in order to focus on the development of its lead drug candidate, Injectable FluCide™, for treatment of hospitalized patients with influenza. The Company has recently reported that it has restarted its anti-Ebola/Marburg drug program, in consideration of the severe public health impact of an Ebola virus epidemic. The current outbreak in Africa has unequivocally demonstrated the need for an effective, broad-spectrum, anti-Ebola therapeutic.
The Company has now developed additional novel drug candidates against Ebola that it believes could lead to a successful therapeutic. A nanoviricide® drug is made up of two components that are chemically connected together: a virus-binding ligand that mimics the native receptor on the host cell to which the virus binds, and a backbone polymer that makes the nanoviricide “look like” the host cell surface to the virus. There have been significant developments in the elucidation of the important cell surface receptors and attachment factors of Ebola virus recently. With this new structure based information, the Company has been able to redesign its anti-Ebola ligands.
“We believe the new anti-Ebola ligands should make the new drug candidates substantially superior to our older ones, based on the molecular modeling studies we have conducted using the structural information of interaction of Ebola virus glycoprotein with its cellular receptor Niemann-Pick C1 protein,” said Anil R. Diwan, PhD, President of the Company, “We believe that Ebola virus will not be able to avoid our drug candidates in spite of mutations, because we are mimicking NPC1, the receptor to which the virus must bind in order to infect the host cell. Of course, we must await results from actual cell culture and animal testing to further develop these candidates.”
The Company is in negotiations with several parties regarding testing the new nanoviricide drug candidates against Ebola in the required high safety environments, i.e. BSL-4 facilities.
NanoViricides, Inc. now has the capability of producing sufficient quantities of an anti-Ebola drug, after it is developed, for combating current and future Ebola epidemics. The highly customizable nanomedicine cGMP capable pilot scale manufacturing facility in Shelton, CT, will be able to supply all of the nanoviricides drug candidates in quantities needed for human clinical trials.
As of September 5, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported a total of 3,967 suspected cases and 2,105 deaths, according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_virus_epidemic_in_West_Africa). WHO has reported an overall case fatality rate estimate of 52%, considerably lower than that reported from previous outbreaks. Unfortunately, this Ebola outbreak has continued to expand at an exponential rate in spite of significant efforts to contain it.
Currently, there are no approved drugs or vaccines against Ebola, , although some vaccines as well as some drug candidates have entered clinical trials. Recently, WHO has announced a policy for use of experimental drugs against Ebola to expedite drug availability.