Durham drug developer Chimerix remains committed to salvaging its experimental drug, brincidofovir, in spite of lingering doubts among some industry analysts about the drug’s prospects.
The 91-employee company, which doesn’t have any drugs on the market, reported Monday that it had $301.5 million in cash as of the end of June, enough money to fund operations for two years. During that time, Chimerix hopes to get brincidofovir retested and seek approval to market the drug from the Food and Drug Administration.
The company’s drug treats viral infections that are harmless in healthy people but potentially fatal in cancer patients and others with compromised immune systems.
Chimerix needed to devise a new strategy after brincidofovir failed in a clinical trial last year, forcing the company to suspend two other clinical trials involving the drug. . Chimerix executives have said the problem was not with the drug itself but with the structure of the clinical trial, and have vowed to save their drug from oblivion.
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“With a patent life for brinci extending into 2034, it is crucial that we continue to plan for the long term in order to maximize the value of brincidofovir,” Chimerix CEO Michelle Berrey told analysts during a conference call.
Chimerix’s plan involves several steps: a clinical trial to test brincidofovir in children, developing an intravenous formulation of the drug, and continued testing of brincidofovir for smallpox. The goal of the smallpox program is to win U.S. and foreign contracts to stockpile the drug as a bioterror defense.
Chief Medical Officer Garrett Nichols said in a statement that brincidofovir is being administered to one patient a day through an emergency program for people with the life-threatening adenovirus infection. The pipeline of patients indicates high demand for the drug and points to rapid enrollment for a clinical trial.
Chimerix will shut down access to the drug through that emergency program when the company proceeds with its clinical trial.
The company also reported on Monday a second quarter net loss of $18.1 million, compared to a net loss of $24.8 million a year ago. Second-quarter revenue fell to $1.8 million from $4.1 million a year ago, largely because a year ago Chimerix received more federal research grants and also booked licensing fees for its work with ContraVir Pharmaceuticals.
Chimerix shares rose 5 cents to $4.26 in midday trading. The shares are down 52 percent this year.