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ViroDefense Inc Announces Selection of Poliovirus Antiviral Preclinical Candidate

Compound Emerged from Technology Licensed from Schering-Plough Research


ROCKVILLE, Md., June 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- ViroDefense Inc today announced that it has chosen to advance a compound licensed to ViroDefense Inc by Schering-Plough Corporation into IND-enabling preclinical studies for the prevention and treatment of poliovirus infections.

Schering-Plough licensed to ViroDefense Inc the exclusive rights for development of a specific compound series for polio indications. The license was provided in exchange for the purchase of compound testing supplies and potential future royalties on sales. Schering-Plough Research Institute had been developing the series for treatment of diseases caused by non-polio enteroviruses, such as the coxsackie viruses. ViroDefense Inc determined in laboratory tests that compounds of the series had promising anti-poliovirus activity.

The licensed compounds belong to the antiviral mechanistic class termed "capsid inhibitors." Compounds of this class inhibit the function of the poliovirus capsid, the outer protein coat of the virus, by integrating into the 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 blocking the initiation of the viral infection cycle.

The lead anti-poliovirus compound, V-073, has been shown to have potent and broad-spectrum anti-poliovirus specific activity, favorable pharmacologic and pharmacokinetic attributes, and the safety and tolerability profile suitable 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 this promising antiviral series for the fight against polio," commented Marc S. Collett, President of ViroDefense Inc. "This is clearly a humanitarian gesture on their part."

"We are very pleased to support ViroDefense in its efforts to address a clear public health need during both the final stages of the polio eradication effort 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 Health Organization (WHO) in 1988, is approaching its goal and expects to certify the world free of polio in the near future. Protecting the estimated $7 billion, two-decade investment will depend on the policies, defense strategies and emergency response capabilities available during these final stages of eradication and in the post-eradication era. These safeguards must protect against virus re-introduction, and in the event of re-introduction, must rapidly contain, control and eliminate the virus.

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

In October 2006, the Task Force for Child Survival and Development proposed that a Poliovirus Antiviral Initiative be established to implement the NRC recommendations. The Advisory Committee on Poliomyelitis Eradication (ACPE) supported the proposal and recommended action. In June 2007, the CDC acted on the ACPE recommendations by contracting the Task Force to facilitate development of effective polio antiviral drugs for global public health applications.

About ViroDefense Inc

ViroDefense Inc is an antiviral research, development and consulting company that advocates for and facilitates development of effective antiviral pharmaceuticals that address global public health threats. ViroDefense Inc is presently focused on development of antiviral drugs for poliomyelitis. Currently, there are no poliovirus antiviral drug products available. ViroDefense INC has offices in the Rockville Innovation Center, located in Rockville, MD, part of the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development's Business Innovation Network.

About Schering-Plough

Schering-Plough is an innovation-driven, science-centered global health care company. Through its own biopharmaceutical research and collaborations with partners, Schering-Plough creates therapies that help save and improve lives around the world. The company applies its research-and-development platform to human prescription and consumer products as well as to animal health products. Schering-Plough's vision is to "Earn Trust, Every Day" with the doctors, patients, customers and other stakeholders served by its colleagues around the world. The company is based in Kenilworth, N.J., and its Web site is

SOURCE ViroDefense Inc
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