DTRA Researching Hemorrhagic Fever Anti-Viral Compounds

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Ebola patient Significant progress at AVI Biopharma? (Aug 22/10) The Defense Threat Reduction Agency at Fort Belvoir, VA is awarding contracts to find new anti-viral compounds that are effective against hemorrhagic fever viruses, a class that includes Ebola and other diseases. Drug development is a long and expensive process ($100 million is often mentioned as the table stakes to get a drug through approvals), and promising therapies do not all make it through the research and testing stages. Even so, the research is interesting: * AVI BioPharma’s AntiSense Approach [updated] * Alnylam Pharmaceuticals & Tekmira’s RNAi Approach * Functional Genetics’ TSG101 Approach * Peregrine Pharmaceuticals’ Bavituximab * Contracts & Key Events [updated] AVI BioPharma’s AntiSense Approach AVI BioPharma is exploring options with its NeuGene “antisense” technology. Using modern methods of chemical synthesis, compounds can be prepared that recognize target gene sequences in a pathogen or pathogenic process. When these compounds bind tightly to the disease-causing sequence, they inhibit the process. This is called antisense technology because the strands of genetic material that get translated into a protein are called “sense” strands, and so “antisense” drugs are meant to stop that translation process. Antisense compounds are made up of an “antisense […]

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