Durham drug developer BioCryst Pharmaceuticals reported an increase in federal funding in the third quarter as the company shifts its focus from developing an intravenous influenza treatment to developing an anti-viral for Ebola and other deadly viruses.
Third-quarter revenue increased from $2.4 million a year ago to $3.2 million in the three-month period ending Sept. 30. The company’s net loss also increased, from $8 million to $8.7 million, as R&D expenses nearly doubled.
BioCryst is a 24-year-old company with no drug products on the market. Its primary source of revenue is federal research funding.
The company has been developing its experimental antiviral, BCX4430, against Marburg virus and recently expanded to Ebola, which is similar to Marburg.
BCX4430 has been demonstrated to protect crab-eating South Asian cynomolgus macaque monkeys from Marburg when administered as late as 48 hours after infection.
However, BioCryst said Thursday said that in recent trials all monkeys infected with Ebola and treated with BCX4430 died within 21 days. BioCryst said administering the anti-viral prolonged the monkeys’ lifespans in a statistically significant way, but did not save their lives.
BioCryst next plans to test BCX4430 on Rhesus macaque monkeys infected with Ebola, with testing expected to begin this month.
BioCryst’s primary focus is developing an oral kallikrein inhibitor for hereditary angiodema. Preparations are underway to begin enrolling volunteers this year to test BCX4161, another BioCryst experimental drug.
The company’s stock closed at $11.06 a share Wednesday and is up 45 percent this year.