News of post-exposure drugs in development helps to explain where all that money is going for biodefense.
A new form of cidofovir is anticipated to come from a Florida biopharmaceutical company that will receive US $30.9M (08/09). The company, Nanotherapeutics Inc. has obtained a five-year contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to produce an inhaled version of the drug that would be used in treatment of biological attack victims. The drug was previously administered by injection, but as viral particles are usually transmitted by an infected person in “droplets expressed from the oral, nasal, or pharyngeal mucosa…noninvasive antiviral treatment alternatives with proven agents (cidofovir) are needed,” as explained in a press release on August 24th.
The antiviral drug will be an alternative for people likely to develop side effects when vaccinated against smallpox, including people with severe exfoliative skin diseases, who are immunosuppressed, or who are pregnant.
Nanotherapeutics Inc. was awarded US $20M in 2007 to develop another inhaled version of an ‘old’ drug. The inhaled gentamicin would be used for post-exposure prophylaxis and treatment of tularemia and plague.