The latest innovation in flu meds: Startup using nanotech raises $6M

scientist drug research labIt’s been quite a season for innovative responses to infectious diseases so far, ranging from Twitter tools that track outbreaks to the app that informs users which plague they need to be worried about now that the flu epidemic seems to be behind us  (acute respiratory illness, apparently), and a helpful website from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that lets you know where to find a flu vaccine.

West Haven, Connecticut-based biopharma startup NanoViricides, uses nanotechnology for its drug in pre clinical development to treat influenza. It has raised $6 million from four investors, according to a company statement.

Flucide imitates sialic acid bioreceptors onto which the influenza virus binds.  It is being developed to combat H1N1 and H3N2 influenza viruses, and is designed for critically ill hospitalized patients with influenza-like illness including immunocompromised patients, according to the statement. An oral version of the drug is also in development. Additionally, the company is developing drug candidates against HIV, eye viral diseases, herpes and Dengue viruses.

If Flucide does make it onto the market, it will have to contend with the dominant drugs in the anti-influenza market — Tamiflu, which is produced by Genentech, part of the Roche Group, and Relenza from GSK. To give a sense of the market for flu drugs, the influenza vaccine market was valued at more than $1 billion last year.


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