SILVER SPRING, Md., Oct. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- United Therapeutics Corporation (NASDAQ: UTHR) announced that its subsidiary, Unither Virology, LLC, has been awarded a contract for up to approximately $45 million under a Broad Agency Announcement from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for studies directed at the development of a broad-spectrum antiviral drug based on its glycobiology antiviral platform. Based on the support from this contract, approximately 20 jobs will be created at Unither Virology's headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, with additional jobs created at subcontractor organizations.
"I'm pleased with the development of our broad-spectrum antiviral program, which is in the preclinical stage," remarked Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D., United Therapeutics' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "The overall objective for this partnership with NIH is to develop a safe and orally available broad-spectrum antiviral drug to treat viruses such as dengue and influenza. Dengue is a painful mosquito-borne tropical fever suffered by millions of patients worldwide each year, and this program may help provide a path to treatment. It is also rewarding to see how our industry generates dozens of jobs when the science data justify expanding a program to its next stage of growth."
The contract provides for up to approximately $45 million in total funding over five years. The base period of 42 months includes approximately $10.6 million in funding. The remaining funds are allocated to eight milestone-based options. Funding will support the development of a candidate compound through preclinical safety and efficacy studies toward potential clinical trials against dengue, as well as preclinical studies to develop additional data against influenza.
About United Therapeutics Corporation
United Therapeutics is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of unique products to address the unmet medical needs of patients with chronic and life-threatening conditions. [uthr-g]
About Unither Virology
Unither Virology, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Therapeutics Corporation. The company is the preclinical stage of developing a broad-spectrum antiviral drug to treat multiple viruses, such as dengue and influenza. Drug candidates have been shown to protect animals against multiple viruses, and the company is commencing a program to move toward potential clinical trials.
The company's glycobiology antiviral agents are being developed under a research agreement with the Oxford Glycobiology Institute. The antiviral agents consist of iminosugar molecules, which enter host cells and inhibit the chemical pathways that viruses use to fold their proteins. Because the iminosugars affect the host cell, rather than attacking the virus directly, they reduce the chance for drug-resistant virus strains to emerge. In laboratory tests, the iminosugar molecules have shown activity against several families of viruses. Unither Virology is conducting ongoing in vivo tests.
Statements included in this press release that are not historical in nature are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include, among others, our expectations regarding the receipt of up to approximately $45 million in funding from NIH, the timing of any such funding, the prospects for future job creation and our ability to develop a broad-spectrum antiviral drug. These forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, such as those described in our periodic and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, that could cause actual results to differ materially from anticipated results. These risks and uncertainties include, among others, the possible decision by NIH not to exercise some or all of its options under our contract, and potential negative results under preclinical or clinical studies. Consequently, such forward-looking statements are qualified by the cautionary statements, cautionary language and risk factors set forth in our periodic reports and documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. We claim the protection of the safe harbor contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 for forward-looking statements. We are providing this information as of October 10, 2011, and assume no obligation to update or revise the information contained in this press release whether as a result of new information, future events or any other reason.
SOURCE United Therapeutics Corporation