By Meg Flippin, Benzinga
COVID-19 remains a serious and deadly threat. The virus is responsible for over 200,000 deaths in the U.S. since January 2022. It continues to mutate and generate new variants at a rapid rate, putting millions of people around the globe at risk. That’s particularly true during the winter months when a triple whammy of RSV, influenza and COVID-19 causes people to get sick, some ending up in the hospital or dying as a result.
There are vaccines, but with new variants taking off so quickly, those shots and boosters can become ineffective. New viruses are also expected to spread in the years to come. Available approved drugs have limitations on which patient populations they benefit, with no drugs available for most of the patients. Paxlovid (Pfizer) has the limitation that it was effective only in persons over 65 with co-morbidities, and reduced the rate of hospitalization. Remdesivir (Gilead) is only available for hospitalized patients. Molnupiravir is a mutagen and is reportedly not a effective in general use. With no end in sight, demand for more effective therapies is growing. That’s where NanoViricides, Inc. (NYSEAMERICAN: NNVC) comes in. The clinical-stage drug company is developing nanomedicine drugs to fight viruses including COVID-19, RSV and shingles.
Investors Taking Notice
NanoViricides isn’t yet a household name, but it seems to be getting attention from the investment community. InvestorsObserver, which ranks stocks based on a combination of technical and fundamental factors, recently gave NanoViricides an 18 rating. That puts it near the top of the healthcare sector, scoring higher than 70% of its industry peers. For good reason, NanoViricides’ drug candidate NV-CoV-2 holds promise in fighting COVID-19, RSV, and other viruses. As it makes inroads in clinical trials, the company could receive an increasing amount of attention – as it stands analysts, according to InvestorsObserver, expect shares to soar more than 350% in the next 12 months.
Behind the optimism is NV-CoV-2, a drug product based on the company’s nanoviricide active pharmaceutical ingredient NV-387. NV-387 blocks the reinfection cycle of viral disease. It binds to the virus and fuses with the virus surface, uprooting the glycoproteins required for the virus to bind to the human cell, rendering it incapable of infecting a cell. NanoViricides believes NV-387 is more effective than antibodies, which can only cover the virus and not bind to it. The company likens its drug ingredient to antibiotics in that the same broad-spectrum drug NV-387 can be used to treat a variety of viruses. It now claims that the Nanoviricides platform technology is poised to revolutionize the fight against viruses just as antibiotics revolutionized the fight against bacterial infections.
Clinical Trials Underway
Currently, NV-CoV-2 is in phase 1 human clinical trials of two oral formulations: NV-CoV-2 Oral Syrup and NV-CoV-2 Oral gummies in India. Karveer Meditech Pvt. Ltd. is the company’s licensee and collaborator and has the rights to develop and commercialize the drugs in India. Of the 36 healthy human subjects, 26 have completed the clinical trial. No adverse events or serious adverse events were reported during the phase 1 trial, which indicates both of the formulations are safe in humans and are consistent with the company’s preclinical safety/toxicology animal studies.
This excellent safety observed in humans is consistent with the Company’s preclinical data. Note that all available antiviral medicines to treat COVID-19 and for RSV as well are limited by their side effects.
In addition, the company has drug candidates in development against Shingles (VZV), Herpes “Cold Sores”, Genital Herpes, Influenza (including bird flu), HIV, Dengue, Ebola/Marburg and other viruses at different preclinical stages. In many of the programs, NanoViricides has already proven animal model effectiveness and preliminary safety and is ready for candidate optimization and clinical candidate selection studies. These programs combined boast a market size of $40 to $70 billion, according to NanoViricides. The RSV therapeutics market alone is $2 to $8 Billion, per market reports.
The current antiviral solutions don’t go far enough to treat and stave off these viruses. NanoViricides is hoping to change that with NV-387 and with its platform technologies. With enough cash in the bank to complete clinical trials and a commitment to its platform technology, NV-387 could be on its way to becoming the antidote needed for viruses, and biotech investors are taking notice.
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