Amyxa to Develop Novel Anti-Influenza Drugs from Marine Microorganisms & Medicinal Plants
January 18, 2006
Woburn, MA— Aphios Corporation today announced the formation of a limited liability subsidiary Amyxa Pharmaceuticals, which will focus on the discovery and development of novel anti-influenza drugs from marine microorganisms and terrestrial plants that are active and protective against different strains of Influenza A including H5N1 viruses and Influenza B.

There are significant worldwide concerns that the current strain of the avian flu (H5N1) if mutated for human-to-human transfer, could result in an influenza pandemic of the magnitude of the 1918 outbreak that killed over 40 million people worldwide. Influenza is a common and serious respiratory illness that contributes to the reduction of quality-of-life and a significant loss of manpower hours each year. Every year, 40 million Americans develop the flu and 20,000 to 40,000 Americans die from it, making it the deadliest infectious disease in the United States. In the case of a pandemic caused by a mutated H5N1 virus or other flu strain, the mortality rate will increase by several orders of magnitude unless prophylactic and therapeutic interventions are in place prior to the pandemic.

Nature is an excellent source of novel anti-influenza drugs since, over the last three decades (1981-2002) covering all diseases, countries and sources, 52% of the 1,031 new chemical entities (NCEs) approved were based on natural products. In the anti-infective area, 68.5% (111 anti-infective drugs) were based on natural products. Of the 35 antiviral NCEs over 1981-2002, 71% (25), including Tamiflu®, are naturally derived or based on a natural product molecule.

Amyxa Pharmaceuticals will screen a unique library of diverse marine microorganisms, isolated from normal to extremeophilic environments in United States territorial waters, and medicinal plants to discover novel anti-influenza drugs. The Company will utilize a patented SuperFluids™ CXF fractionation technology for the rapid discovery and development of anti-influenza drugs. To date approximately 1,000 marine microorganism fractions, approximately 2% of the marine microorganism library, have been screened against both Influenza A and Influenza B in cytoprotection and cytotoxicity assays. Several marine microorganism fractions have been identified as active against Influenza A in cytoprotection assays. We have also discovered an anti-influenza supercritical fluid fraction of a medicinal plant that contains potent anticancer compounds.

Aphios Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company that is developing enhanced natural therapeutics for health maintenance, disease prevention and the treatment of human diseases with a focus on oncology, infectious diseases, and quality-of-life medicines.