NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Tekmira Pharmaceuticals announced today that it has signed a deal that will support the clinical testing of its experimental Ebola therapy designed against the strain of the virus behind the outbreak in West Africa.
Tekmira has long been developing an siRNA-based Ebola drug called TKM-Ebola, but a Phase I study of that agent was suspended by US regulators until the company could provide additional safety data. Earlier this year, Tekmira management indicated that that trial might not restart as early as anticipated since the firm had begun focusing on a version specifically for the Guinea strain of the Ebola virus, which is driving the ongoing outbreak.
Tekmira said it has now inked a manufacturing and clinical trial agreement with the University of Oxford to provide the new drug, called TKM-Ebola-Guinea, for clinical trials in West Africa. The university is the representative of the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium, which will be testing TKM-Ebola-Guinea in infected individuals with funding from the Wellcome Trust.
Tekmira said that it has completed manufacture of 100 treatment courses of TKM-Ebola-Guinea and that clinical testing is expected to begin early next year, pending the finalization of a suitable clinical protocol.