SHELTON, CONNECTICUT -- August 25, 2016 -- NanoViricides, Inc. (NYSE MKT: NNVC) (the "Company") a global leader in nanomedicines that is developing biomimetic anti-viral drugs reports that Honorable U.S. Senator Chris Murphy visited the Company's new campus in Shelton, CT, on Wednesday, August 24th, 2016.
"NanoViricides is exactly the type of innovative company that is driving job creation throughout greater New Haven and the Naugatuck Valley," said Senator Murphy, adding, "I was incredibly impressed by the company and enjoyed hearing from employees during my town hall about how I can best help them and other bioscience entrepreneurs cut through red tape. I know the success of our state's economy is reliant on innovative companies like NanoViricides that tap into the strengths of our state's workforce and educational institutions, and I'll be bringing what I learned from today's visit back to Congress."
Murphy joined co-founder Dr. Anil Diwan for a tour of the facility and then hosted a town hall with the company's thirty employees. Two years ago, NanoViricides, Inc., expanded to their new Shelton lab space from a smaller West Haven facility and added nearly twenty new employees, including at the affiliated companies. NanoViricides, Inc., is currently working on anti-viral drugs to treat a number of diseases, including Zika, H1N1, influenza, and Ebola, as well as a skin cream for treating shingles.
"We really appreciate Senator Murphy for visiting us and for wanting to learn about NanoViricides, Inc. We are excited about the future opportunities with our highly-effective nanotechnology, and we're happy to know the Senator is excited as well," said Dr. Diwan, President and Chairman of the Company.
A press release by the Senator's press office covering the visit can be found at http://valley.newhavenindependent.org/archives/entry/murphy_tours_shelton_nanotech_company/. The quotations herein are reproduced from the same.
The Company can leverage its progress in developing a broad-spectrum drug candidate against dengue viruses to rapidly develop a clinically viable drug candidate against the Zika virus, reported Dr. Diwan to the Senator. He added that the Dengue project has become a low priority project for the Company due to its strategic focus on the HerpeCide™ project, and that further work towards finding a drug candidate against Zika virus, its pre-clinical development, and later clinical trials could only be undertaken if external non-dilutive funding becomes available.
Dr. Diwan also reported that the Company is diligently working on identifying final development candidates in its HerpeCide™ program. The Company believes that its drug candidates against shingles, herpes cold sores, genital herpes, and ocular herpes keratitis represent the best opportunities to enter human clinical trials in the very near future. The Company is presently conducting studies to determine the best candidates in each of these indications to take forward into IND-enabling development and further into human clinical trials (IND = Investigational New Drug), for licensure globally. He also discussed the Company's other programs including the FluCide™ and HIVCide™ programs. In the FluCide program, the Company has developed what may be the world's first orally available nanomedicine against a virus.
Dr. Diwan explained the Company's "nanoviricide®" platform technology to the Senator. Antibodies bind to a virus particle only with two points each. Then the antibody-virus complex must be handled by the human immune system. The human immune system is generally dysfunctional when a viral infection becomes severe, because the viruses are intelligent nanomachines that have developed many ways of disrupting the immune function. In addition, viruses, especially RNA viruses, change rapidly to develop resistance against antibodies, and even cocktails of antibodies, making them ineffective in the field. This has happened many times, most notably during the Ebola epidemic of 2014. In contrast, a nanoviricide displays a multitude of the same site to which the virus binds in order to gain access to a cell. Further, the nanoviricide wraps around and strips the virus, thus rendering it incapable of infecting a cell, without requiring the patient's immune system to be fully functional. Thus, the nanoviricide platform is a step beyond antibodies. A virus would not readily mutate away from the nanoviricide drug, and if it does so, it would become less effective in causing an infection as well, provided the ligands are properly designed to mimic the cellular receptor of the virus.
Dr. Diwan stressed that finding a clinically viable drug candidate against the Zika virus could take as little as three to six months, leveraging upon the Company's broad-spectrum dengue drug development work, if a virus-binding ligand from our anti-dengue library works against the Zika virus. Dr. Diwan further reported that the Company has acquired several Zika virus strains in its BSL-2 certified virology laboratory, and that Dr. Brian Friedrich, the Company's Virologist, has already developed the cell culture assays that can help determine if a ligand is active against the Zika virus. Dr. Friedrich has performed drug screening of hundreds of candidates against several viruses including alphaviruses, bunyaviruses, and filoviruses (namely, Ebola and Marburg), to discover potential therapeutics, while he was at United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). Brian has also worked extensively on Flaviviruses, specifically West Nile Virus, while at University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). Dengue viruses as well as the Zika virus belong to the Flavivirus family.
The Company has previously said that in its HerpeCide™ program, it is currently developing drugs against four different herpesviral disease indications, namely, (i) "Cold sores" caused by Herpes Simplex Virus-1 (HSV-1), (ii) Shingles caused by re-awakening of the chickenpox virus (Varicella Zoster Virus, VZV), (iii) Ocular herpes keratitis which is caused by HSV-1 or HSV-2, and (iv) "Genital ulcers" caused by HSV-2. All of these drugs are being developed as topical treatments.
The Company has previously identified a drug candidate that demonstrated substantially complete protection to mice lethally infected with HSV-1 H129 neurotropic strain that produces zosteriform disease in the animals. while in the same study, only 58% of acyclovir treated mice survived. The study was repeated at a different facility with similar results.About NanoViricides
FDA refers to US Food and Drug Administration. EMA refers to the European Union’s office of European Medical Agency.