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GEN News Highlights : Mar 16, 2012

DoD Awards MediVector $138.5M for Broad Spectrum Flu Therapeutic

Phase III trials with viral replication-blocking favipiravir could start this year.

MediVector won a $138.5 million contract under the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) Joint Project Manager Transformation Medical Technologies (JPM-TMT) initiative to further develop its broad-spectrum flu therapeutic, favipiravir (T-705). The drug has progressed through Phase I studies for the treatment of flu strains including the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus and drug-resistant influenza strains, potentially including other pandemic or biologically engineered viruses. JPM-TMT suggests Phase III studies could start later this year.

JPM-TMT is part of the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense. Its remit is to invest in or partner the development of technologies against emerging infectious diseases and other biological threats, as biodefense countermeasures. The DoD body says favipiravir effectively addresses a gap in the spectrum of agents currently available or in development for treating flu. The drug acts by interfering with flu virus replication, to help reduce flu symptoms.  

“Influenza can pose a significant threat to the operational effedtiveness of joint military forces worldwide,” comments lieutenant colonel David Gibson, JPM-TMT’s joint product manager for the Emerging Infectious Diseases-Influenza Medical Countermeasures (EID-Flu MCM) Acquisition Program. “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.”