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GEN News Highlights : Jul 8, 2013

Public Health England to Test Nanoviricides Against H7N9, MERS

NanoViricides, a development-stage company focused on nanomaterials for viral therapy, has signed a “confidential disclosure agreement” with Public Health England, Britain’s equivalent of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The deal will reportedly allow scientists at Public Health England to develop a specific proposal for the testing of different nanoviricides, such as FluCide®, against viruses of “mutual interest” to both organizations.

The first two such interests are H7N9, the influenza virus now circulating in China, and the latest version of the coronavirus now circulating in the Middle East, also known as MERS. Both H7N9 and the MERS CoV (coronavirus) have reportedly high case fatality rates.

Testing of nanoviricides antiviral drug candidates will be performed in a BSL 3/4 facility at Public Health England. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

NanoViricides surmised back in April that the oral and injectable FluCide drug candidates could be effective against the H7N9 strain that has caused human fatalities in China, as both the injectable FluCide drug for use in severely ill patients with influenza and the oral FluCide drug for less-sick outpatients bear a virus-binding ligand that mimics sialic acid. According to the firm, the CDC and scientists from China and Japan have reported that, based on the structure of the H7N9 virus, it is likely to bind well with the mammalian form of sialic acid.

NanoViricides also held a pre-IND meeting with FDA in March 2012 for the injectable FluCide drug candidate and the firm notes it has been working on IND-enabling studies for this drug.