Feds hand BioCryst $77M for anti-viral trial

The U.S. government is handing BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (BCRX) more than $77 million to finish the late-stage testing of its promising anti-viral drug peramivir. The department of Health and Human Services has now committed about $180 million to the program, underscoring just how committed the government is to funding new tools to fight influenza.

"This contract modification supports peramivir's Phase III clinical development with the aim of gaining U.S. regulatory approval," says BioCryst CEO Jon P. Stonehouse. HHS also extended its development deal with BioCryst from 12 months to five years and asked BioCryst to submit a proposal to go ahead and use the anti-viral therapy on critically ill flu patients. The company expects the government to buy up to 40,000 courses of treatment.

Investors love federal support, and they quickly boosted BioCryst's shares by 7 percent in premarket trading. The developer now has all the money it needs to wrap clinical trials on peramivir, which inhibits a key enzyme needed for the flu to spread in its host. Researchers plan to enroll patients for the late-stage trial during the coming flu season.

- read the BioCryst release
- read the report from the Wall Street Journal