Viral DNA replication is mediated by processivity factors (PF) and polymerases (Pol), and each virus has a unique PF and Pol combination. PF are a compelling drug target since inhibition of the PF impedes DNA synthesis, stops viral propagation, and is highly specific to each DNA virus, likely correlating with a low human cytotoxicity.
High Throughput Screening Drug Discovery
The founders of Viraze have exploited this knowledge, and invented a proprietary patented high throughput screening (HTS) drug discovery engine capable of identifying compounds that inhibit the DNA PF-Pol replication mechanism of MCV, as well as other DNA viruses. The HTS drug discovery engine is a validated system that has successfully identified compounds, which inhibit the PF-Pol mediated replication of several DNA viruses: Kaposi Sarcoma-associated Herpes Virus, smallpox, and feline herpes. The screening methodology is well validated and has been developed with the support of the National Institutes of Health to the tune of $12 Million in grant funding.
VIR001: Molluscum contagiosum
VIR001 is the lead compound currently in pre-clinical testing for first line treatment of Molluscum contagiosum infections in pediatric and adults populations. VIR001 represents a $300M market opportunity in MC pediatric patients alone. However, the technology has the potential to address other viral diseases, including HPV skin and genital warts, KSHV, and the oncovirus mediated Merckle cell carcinoma. Viraze plans to exploit a pipeline of preclinical programs in these areas. Completion of IND-enabling studies for a topical MC product is estimated to take less than 2 years and $5m in development costs. The compound has a well-defined regulatory path, and we anticipate filing an NDA in year 5 of the development program.
The founder of ViRAZE has discovered compounds effective against smallpox and the company is planning IND-enabling studies around two lead compounds identified in our proprietary high through put screen. ViRAZE plans to support the Smallpox program through funding from the US government (such as BARDA and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases).