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ViroPharma Provides Update on Upcoming FDA Advisory Committee Meeting to Discuss Bioequivalence of Locally Acting Gastrointestinal Drugs

EXTON, Pa., July 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- ViroPharma Incorporated (Nasdaq: VPHM) has been informed by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the July 23, 2008 meeting of its Advisory Committee for Pharmaceutical Science and Clinical Pharmacology is not intended to discuss specifically ViroPharma's Vancocin(R) (vancomycin hydrochloride capsules) or any other drug products. Rather, FDA has informed ViroPharma that FDA's Office of Generic Drugs (OGD) will only present for the Committee's consideration issues of general applicability to all locally acting drugs that treat gastrointestinal (GI) conditions. FDA also informed ViroPharma that any resulting recommendations by the Committee will be similarly general in nature. Additionally, ViroPharma has been advised that it will be afforded no more time to speak at the meeting than is afforded to any other member of the public, consistent with the non-product specific focus of the meeting. ViroPharma understands that the time to be provided to any one speaker will be very limited.

Based on FDA's statements to ViroPharma regarding the purpose of this meeting, made by both Committee staff and FDA's Office of Chief Counsel, ViroPharma will not discuss Vancocin at this meeting. Given ViroPharma's experience in this area, and the limited time available to speakers at the meeting, ViroPharma today submitted a letter to the Committee to aid its consideration of the general issue of bioequivalence methods for locally acting GI drugs. Among other things, ViroPharma's letter notes important issues that must be addressed in this complex area of bioequivalence method development, and attaches for the Committee's review a letter sent to FDA last year by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) expressing concerns of infectious disease experts. A copy of ViroPharma's letter and the attachment is now available on ViroPharma's website at

FDA has indicated that ViroPharma can expect the opportunity for public input regarding bioequivalence methods for Vancocin, but has not yet committed to a next step. Commented Colin Broom, M.D., ViroPharma's vice president, chief scientific officer, "We are encouraged that FDA appears to be taking the first step toward a public process to consider the development of bioequivalence methods for locally acting drugs that treat gastrointestinal conditions. After the general discussion at the July 23rd Advisory Committee meeting, FDA should be better prepared to conduct a public process on bioequivalence methods for Vancocin specifically. ViroPharma is prepared to participate in that process when the time comes. We have long contended that changes in GI physiology observed in patients with Clostridium difficile infection make healthy gut bioequivalence models inapplicable to drugs, like Vancocin, which treat this condition."

ViroPharma has previously explained in various submissions to FDA that appropriate public process for development of bioequivalence methods specifically for Vancocin should include (1) public proposal of the method and the data FDA believes validate that method; (2) FDA receipt of and response to public comments on the proposed method; (3) consideration by the appropriate FDA Advisory Committees, including the Advisory Committee for Pharmaceutical Science and Clinical Pharmacology; and (4) final decision making on whether to adopt the method by neutral scientific and medical experts, not the FDA personnel who originally proposed the method. ViroPharma continues to believe that bioequivalence for Vancocin is deserving of at least the same level of process and scientific discussion that FDA has previously afforded locally acting GI drugs such as cholestyramine, mesalamine, and sucralfate that are used to treat far less serious diseases where the consequence associated with getting it wrong do not pose as great a risk to patients.

ViroPharma's filings detailing these requirements are available on ViroPharma's website at

About Clostridium difficile

One of the most serious problems facing the U.S. healthcare system today is hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Clostridium difficile infection is one of the most common and devastating HAIs. The incidence of C. difficile observed in U.S. healthcare facilities more than doubled between 2000 and 2005; between 1999 and 2004, reported mortality rates from C. difficile in the U.S. more than quadrupled to 23.7 per million. Elderly patients exposed to antibiotics, long-term care patients, or those that have a serious underlying illness, are at greatest risk to contract the disease. Patients with this disease have GI tract conditions that are significantly different from those of a healthy individual due to infection. Typical symptoms include diarrhea, fever, nausea and abdominal pain and dehydration, though cases can lead to life threatening complications such as megacolon, peritonitis and perforation of the colon.

About ViroPharma Incorporated

ViroPharma Incorporated is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development and commercialization of products that address serious diseases treated by physician specialists and in hospital settings. ViroPharma commercializes Vancocin(R), approved for oral administration for treatment of antibiotic-associated pseudomembranous colitis caused by Clostridium difficile and enterocolitis caused by Staphylococcus aureus, including methicillin-resistant strains (for prescribing information, please download the package insert at ViroPharma currently focuses its drug development activities in diseases including cytomegalovirus (CMV) and C. difficile. For more information on ViroPharma, visit the company's website at

Certain statements in this press release may contain forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including the Company's understanding that the meeting of the Advisory Committee for Pharmaceutical Science and Clinical Pharmacology is not intended to discuss specifically ViroPharma's Vancocin(R) and that additional opportunity for public input regarding bioequivalence methods for Vancocin will occur or that ViroPharma will ensure that the points in its letter to the advisory committee will be brought forward to this committee. There can be no assurance that the FDA will continue with its stated plans regarding the subject matter of the Advisory Committee meeting, that the FDA will conduct public process specifically for Vancocin, that the FDA will agree with the positions stated in ViroPharma's Vancocin related submissions or that ViroPharma's efforts to oppose the OGD's March 2006 recommendation to determine bioequivalence to Vancocin through in vitro dissolution testing will be successful. We cannot predict the timeframe in which the FDA will make a decision regarding either ViroPharma's citizen petition for Vancocin or the approval of generic versions of Vancocin. If we are unable to change the recommendation set forth by the OGD in March 2006, the threat of generic competition will be high. The entry of competing generic products will significantly affect our sales of Vancocin and our financial performance. Our actual results could differ materially from those results expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements. These factors, and other factors, including, but not limited to those described in ViroPharma's annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission during 2008 could cause future results to differ materially from the expectations expressed in this press release. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release may become outdated over time. ViroPharma does not assume any responsibility for updating any forward-looking statements.

SOURCE ViroPharma Incorporated
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