The prospect upcoming of global-scale epidemic is likely to be experienced again through viral infections. Since then, scientists continue to search for countless preventive measures and counter medications in response to this diseases. Most especially through the use of antiviral drugs and substances.
ReViral and RSV
ReViral will allocate funds to run two clinical trials to test whether its antiviral can help patients at high risk from RSV infections.
ReViral, an antiviral drug discovery and development company, which focuses on diseases caused by the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), has announced the successful completion of raising a US$55 million funds (€47M) in Series B financing led by Novo ventures and New Leaf Venture Partners.
The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most important respiratory pathogen which is responsible for one-fifth of all lower respiratory tract infections worldwide. In the past, it has been considered to be a viral pathogen solely causing infections in children, however, with much improved diagnostic tools and the continuing awareness of diseases of the elderly and immunocompromised patient populations, this information is being contradicted.
“There are at present no approved therapies for RSV except a monoclonal antibody for at-risk babies. Thus for the majority of babies and adults, there are no specific treatments yet for this infection,” Eddy Littler, CEO of Reviral stated.
According to Littler, the majority of those funds will be used to run Phase IIa clinical trials with ReViral’s antiviral drug in two at-risk populations.
The first trial will be in children and the second will be for adults who have received a stem cell transplant.
“The clinical studies will be phased during 2019,” Littler said. “The initial studies are mainly targeted to those pediatric and immunocompromised patients. Other populations include adults with comorbidities such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which will be covered during further development of the drug.”
Littler explained that the compound has the ability to inhibit RSV particles which fuse the target host cell membrane and produces infection. “During Phase IIa studies in adult volunteers, the ReViral drug has been shown to have a major impact on viral replication and can reduce symptoms such as mucus production, sore throat and cough.”
There are several other companies which are also developing treatments for people at high risk from RSV infections. In Denmark, Bavarian Nordic has successfully completed Phase II trials with a vaccine for the RSV virus. In Belgium, Ablynx is running a Phase IIb trial in children with a nanobody treatment that is administered through inhalation.
The new funding has enabled ReViral to progress its lead drug candidate (RV521), a highly potent and orally bioavailable potential treatment for RSV infections, into paediatric and adult trials, and to continue the development of a novel series of antiviral inhibitors targeting RSV replication.
There are currently no approved RSV therapies available, and there is an urgent need for improved drugs for this indication.
The financing was jointly led together with additional new investment from Perceptive Advisors. Existing investors Andera Partners, OrbiMed and Brace Pharma Capital also participated in the fundraising act.
Dr Ken Powell, Executive Chairman of ReViral’s Board, commented: “We are excited to welcome our new investors to the Company. This financing by top-tier funds is a validation of ReViral’s scientific approach to discovery and development of novel antiviral therapies for RSV, a significant medical need. This milestone also demonstrates the significant progress made by the ReViral team since completing its Series A fundraise of US$21 million in September 2015.”
Isaac Manke, from New Leaf Venture Partners, said: “The lack of treatment options available and the limited competition in RSV offer a significant market for innovative therapies. We believe ReViral has a truly superior product candidate, and it has the potential to build a franchise of RSV programmes, eventually expanding into all the diseases associated with infection by this virus.”
Nanna Luneborg, Partner at Novo Ventures, added: “We have been following the RSV field for quite some time and we see ReViral as a leader in this space. We are delighted to offer our investment expertise, furthering the development of the Company as it moves into paediatric trials.”
Founded in 2011, ReViral has an experienced leadership team with a successful track record in antiviral drug discovery and development. The company has then developed a novel antiviral programme targeting RSV fusion with highly potent, orally bioavailable inhibitors with strong drug-like characteristics and excellent pharmacokinetic properties offering versatility in route of administration.
In the elderly in the US, it was shown that RSV infection caused 177,500 hospital admissions and 14,000 deaths over a period of 4 years. Also, severe infection in infancy is linked to the later development of asthma including lung disease and heart failure.
RSV and Zika
An antiviral found in traditional Chinese herbal medicine was comparable to the promising class of chemical compounds discovered by scientists from the University of Alberta as published from Science Daily.
This compound which is potentially powerful as isatisine A, induce promising effectivity against viral infections such as RSV and Zika.
"This is both a remarkable scientific discovery and also something that has the potential to affect not only global health but including the Canadian economy as well," said Fred West, professor in the Department of Chemistry who led the astounding feat along with David Marchant in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. Together working in conjunction with them is cell biologist Tom Hobman from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
According to an article from Biotechnology Focus, the Zika virus is responsible for 30 percent of respiratory cases in hospitals in any given year.
The Zika virus, which is a mosquito-borne pathogen, took the continents of South America in an outbreak last May of 2015 causing a series of prenatal defects suffered by pregnant women. It coincided with a 2,700 per cent increase in Brazil from reported cases of microcephaly, a fatal congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development in newborns.
Marchant says RSV poses the biggest risk to infants, the elderly, and the immunocompromised.
The step for drug development is underway. Marchant’s new company Antibiddes Technologies Inc. is ready to license the intellectual property and begin commercialisation.
"What we aim to do is further refine this compound, to keep the elements that make it medically active and build in the structural components that make it possible for patients to consume in drug form," explained West. "We are approaching that point."