AVI BioPharma, Inc., and the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) in Silver Spring, MD, have announced the successful completion of a formal rapid-response exercise conducted by the Joint Project Manager Transformational Medical Technologies (JPM-TMT) of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).
The exercise involved two undisclosed bacterial and viral threats and exhibited AVI's continued success in the development of a credible rapid response capability utilizing its RNA-based therapeutic technologies against pathogenic threats.
Previously, AVI successfully completed its first formal rapid-response exercise against the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus (swine flu) in 2009 and one against the dengue virus in 2010.
The key outcome of this newest rapid response exercise was AVI's simultaneous conception, design and manufacture in 18 days of two novel RNA-based drug candidates, one against a gram negative bacterial target and the second against a viral target.
The drug candidates use AVI's proprietary phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer (PMO) technologies, including PMOplus™, a positively charged version of its intrinsically charge-neutral PMO chemistry.
This exercise is part of JPM-TMT 's and AVI's ongoing research efforts to develop and refine an efficient rapid-response capacity that includes the capability of responding to a real-world emerging infectious disease or biological threat by rapidly identifying the threat, designing and producing therapeutic candidates against the threat, and then evaluating the preclinical efficacy of therapeutic candidates.
"By addressing two pathogenic threats simultaneously, including for the first time a bacterial threat, this exercise further tested AVI's demonstrated ability to rapidly design therapeutics against emerging viral and bacterial threats using our PMO-based platform chemistries, and builds on our other successful rapid response exercises," commented Chris Garabedian, AVI's CEO and president.
Garabedian continued, "We look forward to supporting JPM-TMT and DTRA to refine the rapid-response capability and also to potentially broaden our collaborative efforts with NMRC through future contracts or a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) for the development of RNA-based therapeutics for the treatment of infectious diseases, including both viral and bacterial threats."