Shelton, Connecticut — September 22, 2021 — NanoViricides, Inc. (NYSE American: NNVC) (the “Company”), a leader in the development of highly effective antiviral therapies based on a novel nanomedicines technology, reported today on the significant advantages gained by remdesivir encapsulation within its lead COVID-19 candidate NV-CoV-2 thereby resulting in the dual-acting drug candidate NV-CoV-2-R with the promise of a potential pan-coronavirus cure.
Pharmacokinetics of Encapsulated Remdesivir Compared to Standard Formulation
Almost double the amount of remdesivir remained intact in plasma when given as the encapsulated NV-CoV-2-R form, in comparison to the standard remdesivir formulation made in betadex sulfobutyl ether sodium (SBECD), during the first day of dosing in a rat pharmacokinetics study. Additionally, remdesivir accumulation was observed on repeated dosing of NV-CoV-2-R. After the fifth dose of NV-CoV-2-R (on day 7), in comparison to the standard remdesivir dosing pattern (twice on day 1 followed by daily thereafter; on day 7), the circulating level of intact remdesivir in plasma was 75% greater in the NV-Cov-2-R group as compared to the standard remdesivir group. The data were normalized to reflect the same amount of remdesivir given to the animals per kg body weight for uniform comparison. The assays were performed using the well-established isotopic internal standard method of remdesivir estimation with LCMS detection.
The increased circulating level of intact remdesivir when given as NV-CoV-2-R encapsulated formulation without any increase in toxicity is significant. It can be expected to result in improved antiviral effectiveness of the remdesivir component in human usage of NV-CoV-2-R treatment. This is important because remdesivir is a highly effective drug in cell culture and pre-clinical studies but does not show clinical effectiveness in humans at levels that would be expected based on its cell culture efficacy because of its rapid metabolism. Additionally, there is very little margin to increase remdesivir dosing in its standard formulation because of dose limiting toxicity.
NV-CoV-2-R was found to be less toxic than the standard remdesivir formulation in this study. At day 7, when a total of 80mg/kg remdesivir was dosed in the standard formulation, the body weight loss was approximately 9.5% in male and 9.5% in female animals. In contrast, when 80mg/kg of remdesivir was delivered as NV-CoV-2-R encapsulated formulation, at day 7, the weight loss was only approximately 3% in male animals and 1% in female animals which was the same as with the vehicle treatment reflecting injection trauma itself and no drug toxicity.
These data demonstrate that the pan-coronavirus nanoviricide drug candidate
NV-CoV-2-R substantially decreases the loss of remdesivir to bodily metabolism in comparison to the standard formulation. The Company anticipates that this stabilizing effect should lead to a highly effective pan-coronavirus drug that could potentially cure most cases of COVID-19 infection.
Both remdesivir and NV-CoV-2 have demonstrated broad-spectrum activity against coronaviruses. Thus NV-CoV-2-R is expected to continue to be active in spite of evolution of novel variants of SARS-CoV-2. In contrast, antibody drugs and vaccines which induce antibodies lose effectiveness against variants. The more the variant drifts from the original strain, the less protection is offered by vaccines, and effectiveness of antibodies also diminishes significantly. This is now known to be occurring for current vaccines and antibodies during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
NV-CoV-2-R combines (1) the power of the nanoviricides® platform attacking the virus particle outside cells with (2) the power of remdesivir in attacking the virus reproduction inside cells. Additionally, we believe that (3) NV-CoV-2-R would be improving the effect of remdesivir by (a) enabling a higher effective concentration of remdesivir in the body and (b) sustaining this higher concentration for a substantially longer period of time, both compared to the standard formulation of remdesivir, as observed in this pharmacokinetic animal study.
NV-CoV-2-R combines two different mechanisms of attack against the virus and therefore is expected to be substantially more difficult for the virus to evade than either NV-CoV-2 or remdesivir alone. This is important because scientists believe it is only a matter of time before variants of SARS-CoV-2 that evade current vaccines and antibody drugs become commonplace.
Both NV-CoV-2 and remdesivir are expected to retain their effectiveness against variants of SARS-CoV-2. NV-CoV-2 has shown effectiveness against multiple unrelated coronavirus types. Remdesivir has been demonstrated to possess antiviral activity in cell culture against a large number of RNA viruses.
The standard Veklury® formulation of remdesivir in betadex sulfobutyl ether sodium (SBECD) helps with suspending remdesivir in solution, but does not appear to significantly improve upon the metabolic effects. In contrast, NV-CoV-2-R is an encapsulation approach wherein remdesivir would slowly leak out into the bloodstream from the polymeric nano-micelle over time, imparting protection against metabolism and sustained effective levels of the encapsulated drug component over a longer time period.
“We are pleased to report that NV-CoV-2-R encapsulation of remdesivir indeed provided substantially superior pharmacokinetics as per our expectation in designing this drug,” said Anil R. Diwan, Ph.D., President and Chairman of the Company, adding, “We believe our drug candidate NV-CoV-2-R is promising to result in a pan-coronavirus cure if successful in clinical trials.”
NanoViricides, Inc. (the “Company”) (www.nanoviricides.com) is a development stage company that is creating special purpose nanomaterials for antiviral therapy. The Company’s novel nanoviricide® class of drug candidates are designed to specifically attack enveloped virus particles and to dismantle them. We are developing clinical candidates for the treatment of COVID-19 disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Our other lead drug candidate is NV-HHV-101 with its first indication as dermal topical cream for the treatment of shingles rash. In addition, the Company has several antiviral programs in various pre-clinical stages.
The Company is now working on tasks for completing an IND application for its COVID-19 drug candidates. The Company cannot project an exact date for filing an IND for this drug because of its dependence on a number of external collaborators and consultants. The Company is currently pursuing two separate drug candidates for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. NV-CoV-2 is our nanoviricide drug candidate that does not encapsulate remdesivir. NV-CoV-2-R is our other drug candidate that is made up of NV-CoV-2 with remdesivir encapsulated in it. The Company believes that since remdesivir is already US FDA approved, our drug candidate encapsulating remdesivir is likely to be an approvable drug, if safety is comparable. Remdesivir is developed by Gilead. The Company has developed both of its own drug candidates NV-CoV-2 and NV-CoV-2-R independently.
The Company intends to re-engage into an IND application to the US FDA for NV-HHV-101 drug candidate for the treatment of shingles once its COVID-19 project moves into clinical trials, based on resources availability. The NV-HHV-101 program was slowed down because of the effects of recent COVID-19 restrictions, and re-prioritization for COVID-19 drug development work.
The Company is also developing drugs against a number of viral diseases including oral and genital Herpes, viral diseases of the eye including EKC and herpes keratitis, H1N1 swine flu, H5N1 bird flu, seasonal Influenza, HIV, Hepatitis C, Rabies, Dengue fever, and Ebola virus, among others. NanoViricides’ platform technology and programs are based on the TheraCour® nanomedicine technology of TheraCour, which TheraCour licenses from AllExcel. NanoViricides holds a worldwide exclusive perpetual license to this technology for several drugs with specific targeting mechanisms in perpetuity for the treatment of the following human viral diseases: human Coronavirus infections, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV/AIDS), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), Rabies, Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1 and HSV-2), Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV), Influenza and Asian Bird Flu Virus, Dengue viruses, Japanese Encephalitis virus, West Nile Virus and Ebola/Marburg viruses. The Company’s technology is based on broad, exclusive, sub-licensable, field licenses to drugs developed in these areas from TheraCour Pharma, Inc. The Company’s business model is based on licensing technology from TheraCour Pharma Inc. for specific application verticals of specific viruses, as established at its foundation in 2005.
As is customary, the Company must state the risk factor that the path to typical drug development of any pharmaceutical product is extremely lengthy and requires substantial capital. As with any drug development efforts by any company, there can be no assurance at this time that any of the Company’s pharmaceutical candidates would show sufficient effectiveness and safety for human clinical development. Further, there can be no assurance at this time that successful results against coronavirus in our lab will lead to successful clinical trials or a successful pharmaceutical product.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements that reflect the Company’s current expectation regarding future events. Actual events could differ materially and substantially from those projected herein and depend on a number of factors. Certain statements in this release, and other written or oral statements made by NanoViricides, Inc. are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements since they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are, in some cases, beyond the Company’s control and which could, and likely will, materially affect actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. The Company assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the company’s expectations include, but are not limited to, those factors that are disclosed under the heading “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in documents filed by the company from time to time with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory authorities. Although it is not possible to predict or identify all such factors, they may include the following: demonstration and proof of principle in preclinical trials that a nanoviricide is safe and effective; successful development of our product candidates; our ability to seek and obtain regulatory approvals, including with respect to the indications we are seeking; the successful commercialization of our product candidates; and market acceptance of our products.
FDA refers to US Food and Drug Administration. IND application refers to “Investigational New Drug” application. cGMP refers to current Good Manufacturing Practices. CMC refers to “Chemistry, Manufacture, and Controls”. CHMP refers to the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, which is the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) committee responsible for human medicines.