Biocryst wins $102 million HSS contract to develop peramivir treatments

Published 12 January 2007

Birmingham-based comapny will explore use of peramivir for the treatment of seasonal and severe influenzas, including bird flu; both intravenous and intramuscular formulations on the agenda

Birmingham, Alabama-based BioCryst this week announced that it has won a $102.6 million contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to develop the influenza neuraminidase inhibitor, peramivir, for the treatment of seasonal and life-threatening influenza, including avian flu. Peramivir is an antiviral agent that inhibits the enzyme neuraminidase, potentially preventing the spread of influenza viruses, including avian flu. The contract will support the full development of both intravenous and intramuscular formulations of peramivir, as well as the validation of multiple U.S.-based manufacturing facilities.

-read more in this company news release

Science briefing

Peramivir is a member of the class of antiviral agents that inhibit influenza viral neuraminidase, an enzyme that is essential for the spread of influenza virus within the host. In laboratory tests peramivir has been shown to be more potent than, and with activity against viral strains that are resistant to, currently available neuraminidase inhibitors. Peramivir is an inhibitor of influenza A and B neuraminidases. At the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy injectable formulations of peramivir were shown to be safely administered at high dose levels to healthy subjects and, in preclinical studies, peramivir has been shown to promote survival in animals infected with highly pathogenic strains of the H5N1 virus. The availability of an intravenous form may be important in treating patients hospitalized with severe life-threatening influenza; the intramuscular formulation will avoid dosing issues with currently available oral or inhaled agents.