Medivir entered a license agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim International for exclusive global rights to a drug program for the treatment and prevention of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection.

The program includes novel compounds that inhibit the RSV fusion protein, which is a key mediator of viral entry into host cells and a target for new medicines, according to the company. Medivir will research, develop, manufacture, and commercialize RSV drugs resulting from Boehringer Ingelheim’s program. Boehringer Ingelheim receives an upfront payment and future success milestones as well as royalties on sales.

Currently, there is only one drug approved for therapeutic use – ribavirin – but its use is limited by a complex administration procedure, limited efficacy, high cost, and toxic side effects. A humanized monoclonal antibody is available for prophylatic use, but it is approved only for prevention of RSV infection in infants that are at very high risk of serious lower respiratory tract disease following infection by RSV.

“RSV is respiratory pathogen that can cause life-threatening infections, especially in children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised. It is a major, underserved disease area today, with no effective treatment available” said Maris Hartmanis, CEO of Medivir. “The in-licensing of this program illustrates Medivir’s strategic intent to enhance its R&D pipeline with high-value, commercial opportunities.”

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