PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 8, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. (NYSE MKT:HEB) (the "Company" or "Hemispherx"), announced that the Company and USAMRIID scientists have agreed to test Alferon®, the only multi-species, natural alpha interferon (IFN) commercially approved in the U.S. and Ampligen®, an experimental drug, to be evaluated against the deadly Ebola virus, which has been and remains a major focus of efforts at USAMRIID, a unit of the Department of Defense responsible for medical biological defense research.
USAMRIID reported in July of this year (http://www.usamriid.army.mil/press_releases/Randy_Final_EID_July_2014.pdf) that samples from suspected Lassa fever cases in Sierra Leone showed that about two-thirds of the patients had been exposed to other emerging diseases, and nearly nine percent tested positive for Ebola virus. The study, published in this July's edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases, demonstrates that Ebola virus has been circulating in the region since at least 2006—well before the current outbreak, which is responsible for over 1000 deaths according to the WHO. Consequently, Ebola has been and remains a major focus of efforts at USAMRIID and the Department of Defense.
Early events in Ebola virus infection influence the patient's ability to develop an effective immune response. The success of Ebola virus replication is dependent on viral inhibition of initial innate immune responses to infection. Disarming innate immune responses is a common mechanism employed by highly pathogenic human viruses that include the influenza and corona viral families. Ebola counteracts the host innate immune response by blocking the cellular production of Type I IFN.
A key component of innate immune responses is activation of the Toll-like receptors (TLRs). TLR3 activation by dsRNA is an essential response element to viral infection. Block TLR3 activation and an essential element of the innate immune response is disarmed. Ampligen, Poly I:Poly C12U (rintatolimod) was designed as an IFN inducer and has demonstrated antiviral activity in a wide variety of DNA and RNA viruses in pre-clinical testing. Replenishing an Ebola patient's natural interferon with Alferon and restoring that patient's innate immune response by Ampligen's overcoming the Ebola blocking mechanisms could potentially reduce the morbidity and mortality of Ebola virus disease.
About Alferon® N
Alferon® N is the only natural source, multi-species alpha interferon currently approved for sale in the U.S. Alferon® N is approved in the U.S. only for the treatment of refractory or recurring external genital warts caused by human papilloma virus in patients 18 years of age or older.
Ampligen®, an experimental therapeutic, is a new class of specifically-configured ribonucleic acid (RNA) compounds targeted as potential treatment of diseases with immunologic defects and/or viral causation.
Since 1969, USAMRIID has served as the Department of Defense's (DoD) lead laboratory for medical biological defense research. While its core mission is to protect the warfighter from biological threats, it also investigates disease outbreaks and threats to public health. Research conducted at USAMRIID leads to medical solutions—therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics, and information—that benefit both military personnel and civilians. USAMRIID is a subordinate laboratory of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.
About Hemispherx Biopharma
Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. is an advanced specialty pharmaceutical company engaged in the manufacture and clinical development of new drug entities for treatment of seriously debilitating disorders. Hemispherx's flagship products include Alferon N Injection® and the experimental therapeutics Ampligen® and Alferon® LDO. Ampligen® is an experimental RNA nucleic acid being developed for globally important debilitating diseases and disorders of the immune system, including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Hemispherx's platform technology includes components for potential treatment of various severely debilitating and life threatening diseases. Because both Ampligen® and Alferon® LDO are experimental in nature, they are not designated safe and effective by a regulatory authority for general use and are legally available only through clinical trials. Hemispherx has patents comprising its core intellectual property estate and a fully commercialized product (Alferon N Injection®), approved for sale in the U.S. and Argentina. The Company's Alferon® N approval in Argentina includes the use of Alferon N Injection® (under the brand name "Naturaferon") for use in any patients who fail, or become intolerant to recombinant interferon, including patients with chronic active hepatitis C infection. The Company wholly owns and exclusively operates a GMP certified manufacturing facility in the United States for commercial products. For more information please visit www.hemispherx.net
Information contained in this news release, other than historical information, should be considered forward-looking and is subject to various risk factors and uncertainties. For instance, the strategies and operations of Hemispherx involve risk of competition, changing market conditions, changes in laws and regulations affecting these industries and numerous other factors discussed in this release and in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The final results of these efforts and/or any other activities could vary materially from Hemispherx's expectations. In vitro experiments are not necessarily predictive of clinical outcome and no representations are made that any products described in this release will be ultimately determined safe and effective in the prevention and/or treatment of the Ebola virus. Moreover, it would take time, testing and funds to obtain approval of any such product and there are no assurances that a commercial approval for treatment of the Ebola virus can be obtained.
To the extent that statements in this press release are not strictly historical, all such statements are forward-looking, and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "potential," "potentially," "possible," and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. The inclusion of forward-looking statements should not be regarded as a representation by Hemispherx that any of its plans will be achieved. These forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees of future performance, and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Hemispherx's control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. Examples of such risks and uncertainties include those set forth in the Disclosure Notice, above, as well as the risks described in Hemispherx's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the most recent reports on Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof, and Hemispherx undertakes no obligation to update or revise the information contained in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise revise or update this release to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof.
CONTACT: Company/Investor Contact: Charles Jones CJones & Associates Public Relations Office: 888-557-6480 Cell: 305-987-7418 Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgSource:Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc.