Transplant antiviral strong in phase 2; Chimerix plans phase 3 start this year

News | 02. 06. 2012


North Carolina biotechnology company Chimerix reported positive phase 2 results for a broad spectrum antiviral agent expected to have applications fighting infections faced by bone marrow transplant patients.

Chimerix now plans to start phase 3 clinical trials on CMX001 later this year. The company is studying the compound for the prevention of cytomegalovirus diseases, or CMV, in patients who have had hematopoietic stem cell transplants. Durham, North Carolina-based Chimerix said that compared to a placebo, CMX001 had a statistically significant benefit in preventing CMV from entering the bloodstream or from causing CMV disease 13 weeks after a transplant. The data were presented at a blood and marrow transplant conference in San Diego last Friday.

CMV is a member of the herpesvirus group of viruses; like other herpesviruses CMV has the ability to remain dormant in the body for long periods of time. The virus can lead to serious disease and even death in transplant recipients, cancer patients and others who have compromised immune systems.

Chimerix says that at least 65 percent of transplant recipients faced moderate to high risk of CMV from reactivated virus from donor or recipient tissue. The disease can lead to potentially life threatening conditions such as nephritis, pneumonitis or hepatitis. Complications are also possible leading to rejection of a transplanted organ. Currently available compounds to fight CMV carry significant toxicities.

Venture capital-backed Chimerix last year raised $45 million in a series F round of financing led by New Leaf Venture Partners. Other investors include Pappas Ventures, Morningside Group Canaan Partners, Sanderling Ventures, Alta Partners, Asset Management Company and Frazier Healthcare Ventures.

CMX001 is Chimerix’s lead drug candidate. The compound has also drawn interest from the federal government. Last year, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, awarded Chimerix a contract valued at up to $81 million if the company develops CMX001 into an antiviral agent for small pox.