PLANTATION, Fla., May 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Viragen, Inc. today announced that the Company has entered into a research collaboration agreement with AFG BioSolutions, Inc., a prominent biodefense consultant to the U.S. federal government. Maryland-based AFG BioSolutions has agreed to conduct in vivo research studies using Multiferon(R) (natural, human alpha interferon) to evaluate its utility as a broad-acting anti-viral agent against a variety of biological threats such as smallpox and other biowarfare viral threat agents.
Dr. Ken Alibek, AFG's President and Chief Scientific Officer, commented, "Our research studies are primarily funded by biodefense contracts and grants with the U.S. federal government, including with the State Department, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency and the National Institutes of Health. These studies are committed to identifying the best defenses, including the best drug candidates, that can mitigate the risks associated with biological weapons in order to better protect our armed forces and the general population at large. We aim to expand the scope of our studies using Multiferon(R), as we continue to seek novel prophylactic and therapeutic approaches to significantly strengthen our medical defenses." Dr. Alibek is also a Distinguished Professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at George Mason University in Virginia.
Viragen's President and CEO, Charles A. Rice, noted the importance of such research partnerships: "While we evaluate additional potential indications for Multiferon(R), it is important to continue our work with independent research institutions and experts, such as with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and now with AFG BioSolutions. Through these collaborations, we continue to collect definitive evidence, indicating that all alpha interferon products are not alike. The unique mixture of alpha subtypes in Multiferon(R) makes it 'the natural choice' for broad anti-viral applications, as these ongoing comparative studies are expected to demonstrate."
"As we build our Multiferon(R) business across Europe, positioning it as a leading adjuvant treatment for high-risk malignant melanoma, we will continue to pursue cost-effective programs to expand the indications for our interferon technologies worldwide," added Mr. Rice.
These planned research studies represent preliminary evaluations, and success cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, Viragen is not yet prepared to recommend Multiferon(R) as a prophylactic, preventive or treatment for any Biodefense application. However, continued mounting scientific evidence will confirm or refute the Company's belief that Multiferon(R) shows immuno- protective and anti-viral activity against multiple viral targets, and holds the potential to be more effective than other anti-viral products.
About Viragen, Inc.:
With global operations in the U.S., Scotland and Sweden, Viragen is a biotechnology company engaged in the research, development, manufacture and commercialization of pharmaceutical proteins for the treatment of viral diseases and cancers. Our product portfolio includes: Multiferon(R) (multi- subtype, natural human alpha interferon) targeting a broad range of infectious and malignant diseases; and humanized monoclonal antibodies targeting specific antigens over-expressed on many types of cancers. We are also pioneering the development of Avian Transgenic Technology, with the renowned Roslin Institute, as a revolutionary manufacturing platform for the large-scale, efficient and economical production of human therapeutic proteins and antibodies.
About AFG BioSolutions, Inc.:
AFG Biosolutions, located in Germantown, Maryland, is a research and development company with unique capabilities for developing lead candidates for vaccines, antibodies and other therapeutic and prophylactic preparations. Using proprietary Rev-VAT(TM) technology, AFG intends to extend its proven approach for developing antibody and vaccine candidates against biological weapons -- threats such as anthrax, smallpox, plague, and tularemia -- into the area of naturally occurring infectious diseases, cancers, and autoimmune diseases. AFG (formerly known as Advanced Biosystems, Inc.) was founded in 1999 as a subsidiary of the Analex Corporation (formerly known as Hadron, Inc.). In November 2004, AFG co-founders Dr. Kenneth Alibek, Vaughn Forrest, and Dr. C.W. Gilluly completed a management buyout of the company from Analex. AFG currently has 26 talented, highly motivated employees, who represent a strong, educated labor force and occupy professional and technical positions within the company. AFG scientists are widely recognized for scientific leadership in infectious diseases, biodefense, immunology, molecular biology and genetic engineering. For more information, please visit: http://www.afgbio.com
For more information, please visit: http://www.Viragen.com
Viragen, Inc. Corporate Contact:
Douglas Calder, Director of Communications
Phone: (954) 233-8746; Fax: (954) 233-1414
The foregoing press announcement contains forward-looking statements that can be identified by such terminology such as "believes," "expects," "potential," "plans," "suggests," "may," "should," "could," "intends," or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. In particular, management's expectations regarding future research, development and/or commercial results could be affected by, among other things, uncertainties relating to clinical trials and product development; availability of future financing; unexpected regulatory delays or government regulation generally; the Company's ability to obtain or maintain patent and other proprietary intellectual property protection; and competition in general. Forward-looking statements speak only as to the date they are made. The Company does not undertake to update forward-looking statements to reflect circumstances or events that occur after the date the forward-looking statements are made.
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