Company reports positive results for treatments against smallpox and norovirus.
North Carolina-based Chimerix was founded in 2000 to develop antiviral drugs for DNA viruses, particularly those can lead to serious complications for immune-comprised patients. It focus is on developing treatments for infections by adenovirus, cytomegalovirus (CMV), BK virus, smallpox and norovirus.
Chimerix’ lead candidate is brincidofovir (CMX001), a nucleotide analog. It has shown broad-spectrum antiviral activity against the most important DNA viruses that affect humans, including adenovirus, the virus that causes smallpox (Variola) and CMV. In addition, it has a high barrier to resistance, no bone marrow suppression and a low risk of kidney toxicity.
The drug has received Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adenovirus, smallpox and cytomegalovirus and Orphan Medicinal Product Designations from the European Commission for the treatment of adenovirus, the prevention of CMV disease and for the treatment of smallpox. It recently received Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for smallpox.
For the development of brincidofovir as a treatment for smallpox, Chimerix has been working with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Smallpox was declared eradicated in the late 1970s, but is still considered a global threat today as a potential bioterror weapon. The company has demonstrated improved survival rates following confirmed orthopoxvirus infections in multiple animal models.
Chimerix has also developed CMX157, an antiviral for the treatment of hepatitis B that it licensed to ContraVir Pharmaceuticals. A third candidate, CMX521, is the first clinical-stage, direct-acting antiviral for the treatment and prevention of norovirus, according to the company. Chimeric recently reported that CMX521 in a phase 1 study showed activity in vitro against all of the strains of norovirus that were tested, suggesting broad efficacy against human noroviruses.