SIGA Technologies announces small pox drug breakthrough

Published 18 October 2006

Not a vaccine, the company’s once a day, orally administered treatment succesfully stops a smallpox infection after exposure; an excited NIH provides $16.5 million for further development

Good news on the smallpox front. Corvallis, Oregon-based SIGA Technologies (NASDAQ: SIGA) this week announced it had succesfully completed a trial of its once-daily, orally administered smallpox treatment. To be clear, this is not a vaccine, but that is a good thing in many respects due to known complications affecting some individuals, including encephalitis, myocarditis, and death, and immunocompromised individuals are at particular risk from a systemic infection after vacccination. Instead, the SIGA-246 drug is taken with twenty-four hours (and perhaps days) after infection, and the recent tests showed it to completely prevent lesion formation and to reduce viral load to non-threatening levels. At present, no similar drugs exist.

SIGA recently received a three year, $16.5 million contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes for Health (NIH), to continue development. This brings the total amount of funding commitments the company has received from various sources since August to over $27 million.

-read more in this company news release