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Chimerix Joins International Network of Organizations to Cure Malaria
Date:4/2/2009

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Chimerix, Inc., a biotechnology company developing orally available antiviral therapeutics, announced today that the Company has joined the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and its network of public-private partnerships to discover, develop and facilitate the delivery of new, effective and affordable antimalarial drugs. The MMV will screen Chimerix' chemical library to identify activity against malaria, and any lead candidates that result will be developed in partnership with South African-based iThemba Pharmaceuticals.

"Chimerix has developed a proprietary approach to discovering compounds active against a broad range of viral diseases that we believe may be valuable in identifying compounds to combat malaria," said Dr. George Painter, CEO of Chimerix. "Malaria has been seen as an African epidemic, but really its impact is worldwide. As members of the global community, we are all responsible for contributing to the end of this disease. Further, by collaborating with iThemba, we can concomitantly support the growth and development of a sustainable biotech community in South Africa."

"The eradication of malaria is now at the top of MMV's agenda," stated Chris Hentschel, President and CEO of MMV. "We have reprioritized our research accordingly and are now placing greater emphasis on the urgent need to fill MMV's antimalarial R&D portfolio with promising, wholly new compounds that could be developed into highly effective drugs to treat malaria. We are delighted to be working with Chimerix and expect that this collaboration will result in exciting compounds that can not only treat malaria but also potentially tackle emerging resistance, stop malaria transmission, and target the rarer Plasmodium vivax malaria too."

"The intellectual and technological support from Chimerix is an important contribution to malaria research," said Dr. Dennis Liotta, co-founder of iThemba Pharmaceuticals and professor of chemistry at Emory University. "Together, we hope to develop therapeutics that address this epidemic while creating a viable enterprise and infrastructure for emerging disease research in South Africa."

About Malaria

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills and flu-like illness. Malaria kills approximately one million people annually. The majority of its victims are pregnant women and children under the age of five. Ninety percent of the cases occur in Africa, but climate change could expand its reach.

About Chimerix

Chimerix, Inc. discovers, develops and commercializes therapeutics with enhanced pharmaceutical properties that are active against a broad range of viral diseases. Leveraging a powerful lipid, prodrug technology, ProLipTag(TM), Chimerix is able to develop drug candidates with oral-availability, increased potency and targeted delivery. These enhanced pharmaceutical properties can be applied to new drug moieties or known drugs to improve dosing parameters, broaden therapeutic applications and decrease the risk of adverse events.

About Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV)

Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) is a non-profit organization created to discover, develop and deliver effective and affordable antimalarial drugs through public-private partnerships. MMV is currently managing the largest-ever portfolio of antimalarial projects in collaboration with over 100 pharmaceutical, academic, and endemic-country partners in 38 countries. The portfolio includes 19 completely new classes of compounds. New and improved treatment solutions are urgently needed for the 2.4 billion people at risk from malaria. MMV is working to ensure that its products will have the greatest possible public health impact and, most importantly, save lives. For more information, please consult http://www.mmv.org.

About iThemba Pharmaceutical (Pty) Ltd.

iThemba Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd., based in Modderfontein, Gauteng, South Africa is founded to discover and develop new and affordable medicines for the diseases of poverty in Africa. The company is funded by the Biotechnology Regional Innovation Centers, LIFElab and BioPAD of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of South Africa.

Utilizing leading edge proprietary technology and its expertise in synthetic organic chemistry, iThemba Pharmaceuticals will become the premier research focal point in Africa for infectious diseases including HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and their associated co-infections. The company will create shareholder value by coupling the company's own drug discovery efforts with collaborative research initiatives and cash-generating contracts to reduce the risks and costs of developing medicines for neglected diseases and low profit-margin markets.


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SOURCE Chimerix, Inc.
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