DURHAM, N.C. – Drug developer BioCryst Pharmaceuticals announced it received another $2.5 million to develop a drug to treat the Marburg virus disease.
The funding comes from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and is in addition to $5 million itreceived in September. The total grant could be worth up to $22 million.
“This is an important next step in moving the development program forward to an (investigational new drug) submission, leading to an initial safety trial in healthy human volunteers,” Dr. William P. Sheridan, chief medical officer at BioCryst,said through a released statement.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Marburg hemorrhagic fever is a rare, severe type of hemorrhagic fever.
The virus was first recognized in 1967, when outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever occurred simultaneously in laboratories in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany and in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia). A total of 31 people became ill, including laboratory workers and several medical personnel and family members who had cared for them. There were seven deaths among the reported cases.
The first people infected had been exposed to African green monkeys or their tissues. In Marburg, the monkeys had been imported for research in preparing a polio vaccine. In addition to the 31 cases, an additional case was retrospectively serologically diagnosed, according to the CDC.