H&P Labs Inc. announced an agreement with Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital to license two classes of compounds in order to develop an oral drug therapy against Ebola.
These compounds were identified because they interfere with entry of Ebola virus (EboV) particles into cells. One class of compounds targets Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1), a host protein that binds the EboV glycoprotein and is essential for infection; the other inhibits the transport of EboV particles to the cell compartment containing NPC1.
"We are excited about the potential of these inhibitors for development of an oral treatment for Ebola," said John Huss, President and CEO of H&P Labs. "With a shortened regulatory pathway to commercialization, and their ability to be used in combination with other treatments, these compounds have the potential to meet the critical unmet need for an effective anti-EboV therapy."
"Our research has demonstrated that these inhibitors play an important role in how the Ebola virus grows and spreads," said James M. Cunningham, MD, Harvard Medical School and physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "It is exciting to see ten years of research culminate in this opportunity, which has the potential to lead to the development of anti-viral drugs."
The EboV inhibitors emerged from research carried out by Cunningham and collaborators at the Cunningham lab at Brigham and Women's Hospital and at Harvard Medical School's New England Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases (NERCE) and Centers of Excellence for Translational Research. Cunningham's research was supported by two grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases branch of the National Institutes of Health.