NEW YORK, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Rx for Africa, Inc. and Zirus, Inc., have entered into a letter of intent to form ZiRx Therapeutics, Ltd., a joint venture that will utilize the anti-viral discovery platform of Zirus, Inc. to target host cell proteins with drugs that potentially block or stop the spread of infectious diseases in completely new ways. Targeting host proteins may lead to broad spectrum antiviral drugs as well as drugs that are less susceptible to viral resistance. The joint venture will include as many as 25 specifically identified drugs with positive preliminary antiviral data that have been approved in a major territory or are in a Phase III trial in a major territory for a different indication. The strategy is for these target drugs to be 'repurposed' against infectious disease (such as the H1N1 swine flu virus) and brought on the market quickly in Ethiopia through Rx for Africa's Ethiopian manufacturing and distribution capabilities. These drugs can then be produced inexpensively to sell throughout Africa and other available global markets.
David Perryman, President and CEO of Zirus, Inc. said, "Repurposed clinically approved drugs represent an opportunity to skip early and risky stages of drug development and create substantial nearer-term value with time frames that are appropriate to help in Africa, where every day matters. Teaming with Rx for Africa represents a real opportunity to accelerate the drug development process, build infrastructure in Africa, and create a lower-cost platform for these potential life-saving drugs."
Mulugetta Bezzabeh, PhD, CEO of Rx for Africa, Inc. commented, "Rx for Africa is deeply glad to have this opportunity to work on cutting edge science developing cures for infectious viral diseases such as HIV and pandemic flu that have ravaged African populations. Ethiopia has significant potential as a market for such products."
The joint venture is subject to final due diligence and respective board approvals of a definitive agreement.
There will be a conference call Tuesday, August 11th at 2PM EDT with David Perryman, Mulugetta Bezzabeh and Bill Pursley to discuss the joint venture. Dial-in number 800-346-7359 / Entry code: 204402
About Rx for Africa, Inc.
Rx for Africa, Inc. invests in companies manufacturing generic pharmaceuticals in Sub-Saharan Africa. Rx Africa (Ethiopia) P.L.C. is a wholly-owned operating subsidiary, with a campus, factory and R&D center just outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, currently producing six generic pharmaceutical products. The company sells 100% of its current production through distributors. Shares of Rx for Africa, Inc. common stock are traded under the symbol RXAF.PK on the Pink Sheets. For more information, visit Rx for Africa's website: http://rxforafrica.com.
About Zirus, Inc.
Zirus, Inc. is a private company with an proprietary platform of host targets and compounds to combat virtually every commercially relevant virus. The Zirus platform addresses infectious diseases in major markets unmet by vaccines and traditional antiviral drugs. The platform has the potential to deliver broad spectrum antiviral drugs (Zirus Antivirotics(TM)) that can anticipate pandemic flu, bioterrorist designed viruses, and newly emerging viruses. By targeting host factors, the Zirus platform has the potential to reduce the incidence of viral resistance and lead to a new generation of more durable antiviral drugs. For more information, visit Zirus, Inc.'s website: http://zirus.net.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains certain forward looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which are intended to be covered by safe harbors created hereby. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including the failure to complete the development of new or enhanced products, the Company's future capital needs, the lack of market demand for any new or enhanced products the Company may develop, any actions by the Company's partners or others that may be adverse to the Company, the success of competitive products, other economic factors affecting the Company and its markets, seasonal changes, and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The actual results may differ materially from those contained in this press release. The Company disclaims any obligation to update any statements in this press release.