JPM-TMT Announces Contract Award for Advanced Development of Broad-spectrum Influenza Drug
MediVector, Inc.'s Favipiravir (T-705) targets multiple influenza virus strains
FORT BELVOIR, Va., March 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Defense's (DOD) Joint Project Manager Transformational Medical Technologies (JPM-TMT) awarded a $138.5M contract to MediVector, Inc. to further develop Favipiravir (T-705), a broad-spectrum therapeutic against multiple influenza viruses, including the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus and drug resistant influenza strains. The contract will help bolster the protection of the Joint Forces against naturally occurring pandemic influenza and/or biologically engineered flu viruses.
"Currently available medical countermeasures do not adequately protect the Joint Force," noted David E. Hough, Joint Project Manager of JPM-TMT. "This drug shows promise that it can mitigate flu symptoms by interfering with the influenza replication process. Our contract with MediVector addresses a capability gap in the protection of the Joint Forces."
Favipiravir (T-705) has already shown positive results in numerous published animal studies and Phase 1 human clinical trials. JPM-TMT looks to invest in mature drug candidates to reduce risk of technical failure and quickly deliver U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved products to the Warfighter. Investing in drugs that test favorably in early stage human clinical trials reflects the program's goal to provide promising therapeutics to fight emerging infectious diseases. This approach seeks to maximize the likelihood of delivery of therapeutics to the Warfighter and reduces the cost to the government.
Lieutenant Colonel David Gibson is JPM-TMT's Joint Product Manager for the EID-Flu MCM Acquisition Program. According to LTC Gibson, "influenza can pose a significant threat to the operational effectiveness of joint military forces worldwide. We understand the influenza pandemic threat and are staying apprised of the controversial research and decision to publish the studies on the development of engineered H5N1 avian viruses. This contract award will support the development of a new type of anti-influenza drug that will provide broad-spectrum coverage of influenza strains the Warfighter and nation may encounter. Phase 3 clinical trials could begin as early as Fall 2012."
About Joint Project Manager Transformational Medical Technologies (JPM-TMT)
JPM-TMT, a component of the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense, aims to protect the Warfighter from emerging infectious diseases, genetically altered and unknown biological threats. Through strategic investments and partnerships with innovative biotech firms, pharmaceutical corporations, other government agencies, and academic institutions, JPM-TMT facilitates the advanced development and acquisition of broad-spectrum medical countermeasures and systems to enhance our nation's biodefense response capability. For more information, visit www.jpmtmt.mil.
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