MELBOURNE, Australia and WASHINGTON, July 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced a contract award with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to assist states to increase their stockpiles of the influenza antiviral drug Relenza(R) (zanamivir). This announcement followed a report released by the Department of Human Health Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on June 29, which outlined HHS plans to increase the proportion of Relenza in the US stockpile to 20 percent of the targeted total of 81 million courses.
The HHS attributed the increase to the effectiveness of Relenza against H5N1 stranis resistant to Tamiflu(R) (oseltamivir phosphate). Biota receives royalties from the sale of Relenza, which is marketed by GSK. A full copy of the HHS news release of 20 July 2006, is available at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2006pres/20060720.html.
Biota is a world-leading antiviral drug development company based in Melbourne, with key expertise in respiratory diseases, particularly influenza. Biota developed the first-in-class neuraminidase inhibitor drug, zanamivir, subsequently marketed by GSK as Relenza. Relenza is currently being stockpiled by a number of national governments for defense against avian influenza. Biota receives royalties from sales of Relenza.
Recent Biota research breakthroughs have included a series of candidate drugs aimed at Respiratory Syncytial Virus (subsequently licensed to MedImmune Inc.) and Human Rhinovirus. Biota is also engaged in early stage research targeting hepatitis C virus infection. In addition, Biota has key partnerships with Sankyo; for the development of second generation flu antivirals (called LANI or Long Acting Neuraminidase Inhibitors) and with Thermo Electron; Biota developed the FLU OIA(R) influenza diagnostics, currently marketed in the US.
(TM) Relenza is a registered trademark of the GlaxoSmithKline group of companies.
(R) FLU OIA & FLU OIA A/B are registered trademarks of Thermo Electron Corporation.
*Further information is available at http://www.biota.com.au.
CONTACT: David Sheon of SciWords, LLC, +1-202-518-6321, for Biota