NexBio opens a new front in the war against flu

San Diego-based NexBio has been highlighting promising animal and lab experiments that support a new approach to fighting the flu. Working with mice and human tissue, scientists for the company say that DAS181--dubbed Fludase--was able to inactivate the human receptor for influenza, essentially stopping the virus from infecting cells. And the new approach has also demonstrated its effectiveness against the new swine flu strain.

Fludase could address one of the key challenges in fighting influenza. Influenza viruses are constantly mutating--an ever-evolving target that requires new weapons to fight it. But by changing their focus from the virus to the cell, NexBio believes it is on track to shut down new strains that become resistant to antivirals like Tamiflu. The work underscores a whole new generation of vaccines that is being advanced at companies like BioCryst and Novavax which is intended to overcome a whole host of challenges posed by the vaccines currently in use. And the sudden emergence of the swine flu pandemic has added urgency and a bright spotlight of public attention to these new technologies.

"Based on these encouraging data we are moving forward with our ongoing clinical development of DAS181, and we will continue to work closely with FDA, CDC, and NIH on this clinical program during the current pandemic," said NexBio Executive Vice President Ronald Moss M.D. "Because of viral evolution, alternatives to current treatment strategies are needed to deal with potential drug resistance. DAS181 may play an important role for public health preparedness during influenza pandemics."

- read the press release
- here's the story from Red Orbit