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Jun 20, 2012

NIAID Provides Viamet with Chemical Synthesis Expertise

  • Viamet Pharmaceuticals signed a nonclinical evaluation agreement with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) through which the firm will be able to tap into NIAID’s preclinical services program to support development of a new class of broad-spectrum antifungal agents. Under terms of the contract, NIAID-funded contractors will carry out chemical synthesis of antifungal agents designed using Viamet’s Metallophile™ technology. Viamet retains all rights to its compounds and will carry out further testing of the synthesized molecules.

    Viamet is exploiting its Metallophile technology to develop metalloenzyme inhibitor NCEs by effectively optimizing the metal-binding components of existing compounds. The platform includes the Metallobase® database of metalloenzymes and known metalloenzyme inhibitors, combined with novel Metallophiles metal-binding groups, and Metallophile Indices, which has been developed as a series of in silico predictive tools for selecting optimal Metallophiles for any given metalloenzyme target.

    The firm has two Phase I-stage clinical candidates. VT-1161 is a small molecule inhibitor of lanosterol demethylase (CYP51, an enzyme involved in the synthesis of fungal cell wall sterols), which is in development as a potential treatment for onchomycosis and candidiasis. VT-464 is a small molecule inhibitor of 17-alpha hydroxylase/17-20 lyase (CYP17), an enzyme that acts as the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of androgens and estrogens. The drug is in Phase I/II clinical evaluation as an oral therapy for castration-resistant prostate cancer that negates the requirement for coadministration with corticosteroids such as prednisone.

    Viamet’s early-stage pipeline includes two other  CYP51 inhibitors. VT-1129 is in late preclinical development as an oral treatment of cryptococcal meningitis, and VT-1598 is a potential candidate for treating invasive mold and yeast infections. VT-1129 is being developed with financial support through the National Institutes of Health Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases program.

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