Neumedicines’ interleukin-12 (IL-12) pipeline is receiving an $8.3 million boost from the Biomedical Advanced Research & Development Authority (BARDA) for the continued development of a drug for hematopoietic syndrome of acute radiation sickness (HSARS), the firm today said.

The new funds for are being awarded through the company’s existing contract with BARDA, and will support animal studies comparing the effectiveness of HemaMax (recombinant human interleukin 12 or rHuIL-12) with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) as well as assessing the efficacy of a combination of HemaMax and G-CSF as a treatment for HSARS, Neumedicines added. 

To date, Neumedicines has received more than $50 million from BARDA for the development of HemaMax for HSARS.

“Our studies in nonhuman primates have shown that a single, low-dose, subcutaneous injection of HemaMax at 24 hours after exposure to lethal amounts of radiation (LD90) increased survival by up to 40%, without any supportive care or antibiotics,” Neumedicine president and CEO Lena A. Basile, Ph.D., said in a statement. “With BARDA’s continued funding we are moving HemaMax toward a possible pre-Emergency Use Authorization, which, if granted, could allow for its use in a national emergency. We believe HemaMax™ could save lives in the event of exposure to lethal doses of radiation, such as a nuclear or radiological weapon or from a nuclear accident.”

Further, Dr. Basile added, Neumedicines is also developing the candidate as a hematological adjuvant therapy for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. “Results of animal studies under our BARDA contracts show that HemaMax is efficacious in the recovery of red blood cells, platelets, and neutrophils,” Dr. Basile said. “Additionally, our animal studies show that HemaMax provides concomitant anti-infectivity and anti-tumor responses that are additive to the primary cancer therapy.”

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