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DFH Pharma to Collaborate with CiVentiChem to Develop Second-Generation HIV Maturation Inhibitor Drugs
Date:1/4/2012

GAITHERSBURG, Md., Jan. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- DFH Pharma, Inc., (DFH) a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company focused exclusively in the HIV-1 therapeutic space, announced today the selection of CiVentiChem, LLC to provide medicinal chemistry services to support DFH efforts to develop the next generation of HIV maturation inhibitor drugs. Maturation inhibitors are a novel class of antiretroviral drug candidates that inhibit HIV-1 replication by interfering with the maturation of the HIV-1 virus. 

The collaboration will allow DFH Pharma to expedite the discovery of 2nd generation maturation inhibitor drugs by utilizing CiVentiChem's extensive experience in the preparation and characterization of small molecule drug candidates. During 2012 DFH will work closely with CiVentiChem to extend recent successful efforts to discover new drug candidates with potent activity against all HIV strains, including those that proved resistant to the first-in-class maturation inhibitor, bevirimat. In addition to the preparation of new triterpene analogs, which form the basis for the current 2nd generation program, DFH plans to work with CiVentiChem to explore new chemical space with the goal of identifying additional classes of compounds with maturation inhibition activity.

"We are very excited to be working with CiVentiChem in the discovery of new 2nd generation HIV maturation inhibitors" said Dr. David Martin, DFH Pharma Chief Development Officer.  Dr. Martin continued, "The collaboration will allow DFH access to world-class medicinal chemists and help the Company to achieve its primary goal of returning this exciting class of HIV drug to the clinic".  Bhaskar Venepalli, Ph.D., President of CiVentiChem commented, "We are very pleased that DFH Pharma has selected CiVentiChem as its chemistry partner. We look forward to employing our value-added services in the areas of drug discovery and medicinal chemistry to expedite the development of their novel products. Our aim in this collaboration is to support DFH Pharma in its R&D programs by increasing productivity and shortening the time required for product development."

About Maturation Inhibitors

Maturation inhibitors are a novel class of antiretroviral drug candidates that inhibit HIV-1 replication by interfering with virus maturation. Specifically, drugs in this class interfere with the last step in the processing of the HIV-1 Gag protein. This interference leads to the formation of noninfectious, immature virus particles, thus preventing subsequent rounds of HIV infection. As expected for a novel mechanism of action, these drugs retain inhibitory activity against HIV-1 isolates resistant to all classes of currently approved drugs commonly used by HIV infected patients. DFH plans to develop maturation inhibitors for application in both first-line and salvage therapy.

The clinical proof-of-concept for maturation inhibitors was established in a monotherapy study in HIV-infected patients with the first-in-class inhibitor bevirimat.  While this first generation drug candidate was shown to be safe and well-tolerated with potent antiviral activity in some patients, only limited activity was observed in other patients.  The focus of the second generation program is to identify drug candidates with potent activity against all HIV-1 strains, including those that exhibit reduced sensitivity to first-generation compounds.

About DFH Pharma, Inc.

DFH Pharma was founded by Carl Wild, PhD and Dr. Martin in 2011. Dr. Wild was a co-founder of Panacos Pharmaceuticals and served as the Chief Scientific Officer. He serves as the company's President and Chief Executive Officer as well as on the Board of Directors.  While at Duke University, Dr. Wild discovered the Fusion Inhibitor class of HIV drugs and invented the first approved member of that drug class, Fuzeon® (Enfuvirtide). Dr. Martin was Senior Vice President, Drug Development and Regulatory Affairs at Panacos.  He serves as the Chief Development Officer and on the Board of Directors.  While at Panacos, Drs. Wild and Martin played critical roles in the development of bevirimat, the first-in-class maturation inhibitor drug. Together the DFH Pharma team has more than 60 years of experience in antiviral drug discovery and development.

About CiVentiChem, LLC.

CiVentiChem is a leading provider of integrated discovery support, research & development, contract research and manufacturing services to pharmaceutical, biotech and agrochemical companies. Since its formation in 1994, CiVentiChem has established excellent relationships with numerous leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, providing contract R&D and custom synthesis services.  CiVentiChem has labs and headquarters near Research Triangle Park, North Carolina with additional facilities in Hyderabad, India.

Contact:

Carl Wild, PhD

cwild@dfhpharma.com

Telephone: (301) 461-4231

or

David E. Martin, PharmD

dmartin@dfhpharma.com

Telephone: (301) 538-1878



Media Contact: David Martin, DFH Pharma, Inc., 301-538-1878, dmartin@dfhpharma.com

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