Chimerix Announces Licensing Deal
Chimerix Announces Licensing Deal
SAN DIEGO, CA, September 12, 2003 - Chimerix Inc., an emerging biotechnology company developing orally available, targeted medicines from bioactive molecules, today announced that it has licensed rights from Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) to develop oral derivatives of Gilead's proprietary antiviral compound cidofovir, intended for the prevention or treatment of smallpox infections. Chimerix's initial focus will be to continue the development of its oral smallpox drug, CMX001, which is a chemically modified derivative of cidofovir, derived by incorporating Chimerix proprietary chemistry to enhance intracellular uptake and oral delivery.
The license permits Chimerix to sell CMX001 to governments anywhere in the world. The license also includes the rights to develop and sell oral derivatives of cidofovir for treatment of infections caused by related viruses such as vaccinia virus (the virus used for smallpox vaccinations) and monkeypox virus (a smallpox-related virus found in animals, which can be passed on to humans). Chimerix will pay Gilead royalties based on a percentage of net sales to governments. Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Cidofovir is an antiviral medication currently approved for the treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis in AIDS patients. Marketed under the brand name Vistide®, Gilead's drug was cleared for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1996 and by European regulators in 1997. Cidofovir is administered by intravenous infusion. Using proprietary technology, Chimerix is able to modify cidofovir (the parent compound), to yield a potent, orally available drug that has the potential to treat smallpox infections, or complications of smallpox vaccination. Chimerix was recently awarded a $36.1M grant from U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), under the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, to support development for its drug, CMX001, as a treatment for smallpox. The Bioterrorism Act of 2002 authorizes government spending for the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile.
"Chimerix's lead drug candidate is a chemically modified version of cidofovir that has the potential to be the first effective and non-toxic oral therapy for smallpox infections. This is significant, as over 40 million Americans who are pregnant, have eczema or whose immune systems are compromised in any way are not candidates for vaccination," said George Painter, Ph.D., CEO of Chimerix. "Pending further positive studies, we also hope to demonstrate that CMX001 will be both a preventive drug and a potential treatment for people who develop complications from vaccinia, the virus used in the smallpox vaccine."
"Through the granting of this license to Chimerix, Gilead is pleased to support the development of an oral compound that has the potential to address a significant public health threat," said John C. Martin, Ph.D., President and CEO of Gilead.
Chimerix Inc. is a privately held biotechnology company creating and developing orally available medicines from bioactive molecules. Application of Chimerix's proprietary technology enhances oral availability, stabilizes drug in plasma, and facilitates the delivery of drugs into targeted tissues. Known drugs can be modified to improve dosing parameters, broaden therapeutic applications and decrease the risk of adverse reactions. Chimerix is applying its technology towards discovery and development of oral drugs for the treatment of smallpox, drug-resistant HIV infection and viral hepatitis. The company is headquartered in San Diego, CA, with offices in Research Triangle Park, NC.
Gilead Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes therapeutics to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases worldwide. The company has seven marketed products and focuses its research and clinical programs on anti-infectives. Headquartered in Foster City, CA, Gilead has operations in the United States, Europe and Australia.
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