ViroDefense Inc Announces Selection of Poliovirus Antiviral Preclinical Candidate

Wednesday, June 4, 2008 General News
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ROCKVILLE, Md., June 3 ViroDefense Inc todayannounced that it has chosen to advance a compound licensed to ViroDefense Incby Schering-Plough Corporation into IND-enabling preclinical studies for theprevention and treatment of poliovirus infections.

Schering-Plough licensed to ViroDefense Inc the exclusive rights fordevelopment of a specific compound series for polio indications. The licensewas provided in exchange for the purchase of compound testing supplies andpotential future royalties on sales. Schering-Plough Research Institute hadbeen developing the series for treatment of diseases caused by non-polioenteroviruses, such as the coxsackie viruses. ViroDefense Inc determined inlaboratory tests that compounds of the series had promising anti-poliovirusactivity.

The licensed compounds belong to the antiviral mechanistic class termed"capsid inhibitors." Compounds of this class inhibit the function of thepoliovirus capsid, the outer protein coat of the virus, by integrating intothe capsid at a specific site or pocket. By doing so, they prevent virus"uncoating" and the release of the viral RNA from the capsid, thereby blockingthe initiation of the viral infection cycle.

The lead anti-poliovirus compound, V-073, has been shown to have potentand broad-spectrum anti-poliovirus specific activity, favorable pharmacologicand pharmacokinetic attributes, and the safety and tolerability profilesuitable for its advancement as a preclinical candidate. Consequently, IND-enabling studies will commence with V-073.

"We are grateful to Schering-Plough for their willingness to offer thispromising antiviral series for the fight against polio," commented Marc S.Collett, President of ViroDefense Inc. "This is clearly a humanitariangesture on their part."

"We are very pleased to support ViroDefense in its efforts to address aclear public health need during both the final stages of the polio eradicationeffort and in the post-eradication era," said Thomas P. Koestler, Ph.D.,President of Schering-Plough Research Institute.


The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, launched by the World HealthOrganization (WHO) in 1988, is approaching its goal and expects to certify theworld free of polio in the near future. Protecting the estimated $7 billion,two-decade investment will depend on the policies, defense strategies andemergency response capabilities available during these final stages oferadication and in the post-eradication era. These safeguards must protectagainst virus re-introduction, and in the event of re-introduction, mustrapidly contain, control and eliminate the virus.

In November 2005, the National Research Council (NRC) held a workshop, atthe request of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention (CDC), to discuss the role and utility of a polioantiviral drug in the efforts to eradicate poliovirus and in the defense of apolio-free world post-eradication. It was concluded that a polio antiviraldrug, used alone or in conjunction with current vaccines, would be useful inthe control of polio outbreaks, providing increased response flexibility andimproved effectiveness. It was further recommended that drug developmentbegin immediately. Currently, there are no drugs for treatment or preventionof poliovirus disease.

In October 2006, the Task Force for Child Survival and Developmentproposed that a Poliovirus Antiviral Initiative be established to implementthe NRC recommendations. The Advisory Committee on Poliomyelitis Eradication(ACPE) supported the proposal and recommended action. In June 2007, the CDCacted on the ACPE recommendations by contracting the Task Force to facilitatedevelopment of effective polio antiviral drugs for global public healthapplications.

About ViroDefense Inc

ViroDefense Inc is an antiviral research, development

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