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DES6 INHIBITS SPREAD OF VACCINIA VIURUS IN TISSUE CULTURE.

AusAm Biotechnologies, Inc. has reported that studies performed in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, show that AusAm's lead antiviral drug candidate, DES6, inhibits the replication and spread of vaccinia virus in tissue culture.

The vaccinia virus model is the standard used for identifying potential drugs to inhibit the reproduction of the closely related smallpox virus.

"We are pleased with these results, however there remains work to do before we will know whether DES6 is a viable therapeutic agent against smallpox," said Sam Hopkins, director of clinical trials for AusAm. "The level of activity observed in these studies warrants us moving to the next stage of development for this important indication."

In a human safety study concluded in March of this year by AusAm, measurable levels of DES6 were shown to remain in circulation beyond eight hours. In pre-clinical studies, DES6 has been detected up to 72 hours in vivo.

"A therapeutic such as DES6 could be a valuable addition to the current vaccine initiative and a very useful agent in dealing with the threat of acute infectious pathogens such as smallpox," said James R. McCullough, CEO.

AusAm is actively conducting studies in collaboration with government agencies and other infectious disease research centers to test the range of activity of DES6 against multiple virus families. To date, DES6 has shown activity against several viruses in the laboratory including HIV, herpes, vaccinia (smallpox), cytomegalovirus and encephalitis (VEE).

DES6 is a member of the sulfated dextran family of compounds that attach to the surface of a virus's coat and prevent it from infecting target cells. While compounds in this class have shown significant activity as broad-spectrum antivirals in the test tube, they have not yet proven active in clinical experiments.

AusAm designed DES6 to retain the potent antiviral activity of sulfated dextrans, while reducing or eliminating some known mechanisms of toxicity and improving stability in vivo.

DES6 is scheduled to progress to expanded human trials later this year. AusAm is currently in the process of selecting a clinical trial site to begin safety and efficacy studies in both normal and HIV positive individuals.

About AusAm Biotechnologies, Inc.

AusAm Biotechnologies, Inc. of Santa Monica, California is a biopharmaceutical company developing both therapeutic and diagnostic products. AusAm is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, with research facilities in the United States and Australia.

For more information, call (310)260-9222 or visit http://www.ausambiotech.com.
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Publication:Worldwide Biotech
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2003
Words:405
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