Aug 13 BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc
said the U.S. government exercised options to test the company's
antiviral drug in humans and non-primates as a treatment for
hemorrhagic fever viruses such as Ebola.
The biotechnology company's shares rose as much as 4.4
percent in morning trade.
BioCryst said it would receive $4.1 million from the
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to
advance development of an intramuscular formulation of its drug,
"BCX4430 appears to be an ideal product candidate as the
agency (NIAID) is intent on moving away from its historical 'one
bug, one drug' approach towards more broad-based therapeutic
agents," Needham & Co analyst Serge Belanger said in a note.
Companies with potential Ebola therapies have captured the
spotlight as developers face mounting pressure to expedite
research on new medical interventions to combat the deadly
So far, no Ebola drugs or vaccines have entered mid-stage
human trials, let alone been approved. The most advanced have
been tested only in monkeys and a handful of humans.
The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that people
infected in the West African Ebola outbreak could be offered
untested drugs, ushering in an opportunity for companies with
potential Ebola drugs of their own.
However, some analysts are skeptical of the speed at which
these potential Ebola cures will be adopted.
"Given that BCX4430 is a preclinical candidate and has yet
to be tested in humans, it's unlikely it will be used during the
current Ebola virus outbreak," Belanger added.
Fragile health systems, significant deficits in resources
and infrastructure, and the general inexperience in dealing with
Ebola outbreaks could act as hurdles to the adoption of
potential Ebola therapies, MLV & Co analyst Vernon Bernardino
The NIAID funding is part of the up to $22 million contract
awarded to BioCryst by the agency last September.
NIAID is also supporting the development of GlaxoSmithKline
Plc and Johnson & Johnson's experimental
Birmingham, Alabama-based BioCryst's stock was up about 2
percent at $13.67 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bangalore; Editing by Simon