Chimerix shifts from Ebola focus to adenoviruses, CMV as outbreak wanes
- Underscoring a clinical trial catch-22, Chimerix is withdrawing as a participant in Ebola-focused clinical trials in West Africa as the outbreak begins to wane. Instead, the company will focus on studies evaluating use of brincidofovir,an investigational antiviral, for treatment of adenoviral infections in post-transplant patients.
- Brincidofovir is a lipid-antiviral drug conjugate for use against DNA viruses.
- At the height of the Ebola outbreak, the CDC screened various drugs for potential utility against the Ebola virus. Brincidofovir signaled potency against the virus and was advanced into clinical trials as a potential treatment agent.
On January 2, an open-label, Phase 2 study was initiated to evaluate brincidofovir’s efficacy in 140 Liberian patients with Ebola virus disease at Médecins Sans Frontières' (MSF's) ELWA 3 Ebola Management Centre in Monrovia, Liberia. However, there were only four cases of Ebola reported in Liberia last week and there are not enough patients to complete enrollment requirements for this trial.
For this reason, Chimerix is redirecting its attention back to its original focus on adenoviruses and CMV. There is a significant unmet medical need associated with adenoviral infections, which have an 80% fatality rate in the most susceptible patients—those who develop adenoviral infections after an organ transplant.
Brincidofovir offers many advantages, including the fact that it does not have the dose-limiting toxicity of its predecessor, cidofovir (made by Gilead), and that it can be used orally.