BioCryst has apparently come up with the killer app of the biotech industry - a bird flu/seasonal flu combo antiviral that's safe at high doses.
It's too late to ride the bubble for you stock market folks, BioCryst's stock jumped earlier in the week when news of their drug first started comming out. Anyway, here's a little more detail from Reuters:
"A new drug being developed to fight both bird flu and seasonal flu can be given safely to people in very high doses, BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. said on Friday. The drug, called peramivir, is still in experimental trials but is considered the next-line drug to fight influenza of all sorts, after Tamiflu and Relenza.
"We demonstrated that you can go to very high levels of peramivir in humans," Dr. Charles Bugg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BioCryst, said in a telephone interview.
"We did escalating doses -- starting at a low dose and showing it's safe and going until we have a dose way, way above what we think it takes to inhibit the virus. We can go to very high levels," Bugg added.
All doses were well tolerated with no serious adverse effects, researchers independent of the company told a meeting in San Francisco of the American Society for Microbiology. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave peramivir "fast-track status" in January to allow speedy review for approval.
The company has said peramivir has shown broad spectrum activity against various strains of flu, including the H5N1 virus that causes bird flu, in animal trials."
Wow, fast track status huh? They're treating peramivir a little nicer than they did the HPV vaccine or the morning-after pill. Good to know politics still has a place in public health... Project BioShield probably has a bit more sway these days than the Office of Women's Health. I mean, Bioshield's website is just soo kickass, why wouldn't the FDA be sucking its dick??
I wonder how much this super virus killer shits going to cost, anyway? Probably a bit more than your average Sudanese poultry farmer can afford. Probably more than anyone who doesn't have a platinum health insurance program could ever hope to come up with. My guess at the price tag will be $260 for 30 pills.
Good job BioCryst! You're going to make a bundle and save the world (read: rich white people with good jobs) from the bird flu! Maybe if the world's population is lucky the WHO will cut you guys a check for a few million doses.