RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Viamet Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that based upon progress achieved to date, an NIH grant for the development of novel antifungal agents for the treatment of Valley fever has been extended for a second year. The additional funding is intended to support advanced preclinical studies.
Valley fever, also known as coccidioidomycosis, is a serious orphan disease caused by the fungal pathogen Coccidioides. Valley fever occurs predominantly in the southwest United States, with the highest number of cases reported in California and Arizona. The infection begins in the lungs, and usually presents as a flu-like illness that resolves in most patients over several weeks. However, approximately 10% of patients develop a chronic pulmonary infection, and many of these patients will also progress to disseminated disease. Once disseminated, the infection can be life threatening. Current therapy includes long-term treatment with antifungal agents such as fluconazole or itraconazole. However, limitations of these agents include suboptimal efficacy and high relapse rates, as well as side effects due to poor selectivity for the desired fungal target.
The Company’s lead agent for Valley fever, VT-1598, is a novel oral compound that potently inhibits fungal CYP51. Unlike currently marketed agents, however, VT-1598 is highly selective for fungal CYP51, and was specifically designed to avoid interactions with human CYP enzymes that can lead to safety and tolerability issues. In both in vitro studies and animal models, VT-1598 has demonstrated highly potent activity against a wide variety of fungal pathogens, including Coccidioides. VT-1598 is currently undergoing advanced preclinical studies, with initial clinical trials expected to begin during the second half of 2016.
Robert Schotzinger, MD, PhD, CEO of Viamet, noted “We are pleased to receive this additional grant from the NIH for the further development of our pipeline of novel antifungal agents, including VT-1598. In preclinical studies, this compound has demonstrated considerable promise for the treatment of Valley fever, which is a significant public health concern in the southwest United States. We look forward to advancing VT-1598 towards clinical development targeting the treatment of Valley fever and other serious and life-threatening fungal diseases.”
About Viamet (www.viamet.com)
Viamet is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics based on a proprietary metalloenzyme medicinal chemistry platform, the Metallophile Technology®. The Company is using this platform to design drugs that are expected to have greater selectivity and safety as well as improved potency compared to currently available therapeutics. The Company’s initial product candidates include a portfolio of highly potent and selective novel antifungal agents.
This press release includes forward-looking statements. Actual results may vary materially from these statements. There are many important risks affecting Viamet’s business and VT-1598, including that clinical trials may not be commenced, or if commenced, may not be successful, regulatory approvals may not be obtained and approved products, if any, may not achieve commercial success. The Viamet group of companies includes Viamet Pharmaceuticals Holdings, LLC and its operating subsidiaries, Viamet Pharmaceuticals, Inc., VPS-2, Inc. and VPS-3, Inc. The Viamet group of companies is based in the Research Triangle Park region of North Carolina, USA.