MediVector awarded DoD contract for broad-spectrum influenza therapeutic

The Department of Defense's Joint Project Manager Transformational Medical Technologies announced on Thursday that it has awarded a $138.5 million contract to MediVector, Inc., for the further development of a broad-spectrum influenza therapeutic.

MediVector will develop Favipiravir (T-705), which targets multiple influenza viruses, including drug-resistant strains and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus. The contract is meant to improve the protection of the joint forces against biologically engineered or naturally occurring flu viruses.

"Currently available medical countermeasures do not adequately protect the joint force," David E. Hough, the joint project manager of JPM-TMT, said. "This drug shows promise that it can mitigate flu symptoms by interfering with the influenza replication process. Our contract with MediVector addresses a capability gap in the protection of the joint forces."

Favipiravir (T-705) has shown positive results in multiple animal studies and Phase 1 human clinical trials. The JPM-TMT invests in mature drug candidates that can quickly deliver U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved products to the military.

"Influenza can pose a significant threat to the operational effectiveness of joint military forces worldwide," David Gibson, a lieutenant colonel and JPM-TMT's joint project manager for the EID-Flu MCM Acquisition Program, said. "We understand the influenza pandemic threat and are staying apprised of the controversial research and decision to publish the studies on the development of engineered H5N1 avian viruses. This contract award will support the development of a new type of anti-influenza drug that will provide broad-spectrum coverage of influenza strains the warfighter and nation may encounter. Phase 3 clinical trials could begin as early as Fall 2012."