MONTREAL, Jan. 8, 2015 /CNW/ - H&P Labs Inc. announced an agreement with Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital to license two classes of compounds in order to develop an oral drug therapy against Ebola.
These compounds were identified because they interfere with entry of Ebola virus (EboV) particles into cells. One class of compounds targets Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1), a host protein that binds the EboV glycoprotein and is essential for infection; the other inhibits the transport of EboV particles to the cell compartment containing NPC1.
"We are excited about the potential of these inhibitors for development of an oral treatment for Ebola," said John Huss, President and CEO of H&P Labs. "With a shortened regulatory pathway to commercialization, and their ability to be used in combination with other treatments, these compounds have the potential to meet the critical unmet need for an effective anti-EboV therapy."
"Our research has demonstrated that these inhibitors play an important role in how the Ebola virus grows and spreads," said James M. Cunningham, MD, Harvard Medical School and physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "It is exciting to see ten years of research culminate in this opportunity, which has the potential to lead to the development of anti-viral drugs."
The EboV inhibitors emerged from research carried out by Cunningham and collaborators at the Cunningham lab at Brigham and Women's Hospital and at Harvard Medical School's New England Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases (NERCE) and Centers of Excellence for Translational Research. Cunningham's research was supported by two grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases branch of the National Institutes of Health.
Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe, often fatal illness that spreads through human-to-human contact. While a number of therapies and vaccines are now under development, there are currently no licensed treatments proven to safely and effectively treat the virus.
As of December 31, 2014, a total of 20,206 cases of Ebola had been reported, an 18% increase from the 17,145 cases reported as of December 3, 2014. Reported deaths rose 30% during that same period to 7,905 from 6,070. Deaths have been reported in eight countries. This includes four cases and one death in the United States. There have been no reported cases in Canada.
About H&P Labs:
H&P Labs is a private biotechnology company focused on the development of drugs to fight infectious viral diseases worldwide for public health and biodefense missions. H&P Labs' objective is to deliver treatment options against Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (VHFs), such as Ebola, Lassa, Dengue, as well as other important and often life-threatening viruses (e.g., MERS, Chikungunya, EEE/WEE/VEE).
SOURCE H&P Labs