ANNAPOLIS, Md., April 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: PIP), a biodefense company developing medical countermeasures against biological and chemical threats, announced today that the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense has completed initial in vitro testing of the Company's recombinant butyrylcholinesterase (rBChE) bioscavenger demonstrating that it successfully targets and binds to a broad spectrum of nerve agents, including sarin and tabun, which are believed to be part of the Syrian chemical weapons inventory.
"These promising new data demonstrate that PharmAthene's next generation rBChE bioscavenger may be a viable candidate as a prophylactic and therapeutic for nerve agent poisoning," remarked Eric I. Richman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "PharmAthene is proud to be working in collaboration with the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop innovative new medical countermeasures solutions to address significant national security imperatives. If successful, our next generation rBChE bioscavenger could provide an efficient and flexible manufacturing approach and a more cost-effective solution for the U.S. government to address the threat of chemical weapons."
Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) is a naturally occurring protein found in minute quantities in blood. It functions as a natural bioscavenger to absorb toxins such as organophosphorous compounds (nerve agents) and certain pesticides, before they cause irreversible neurological damage.
Previous non-clinical studies in animals demonstrate that rBChE can provide significant protection against chemical nerve agent poisoning when administered prophylactically (prior to exposure to nerve agent) and also may increase survival when administered therapeutically (following nerve agent exposure)."In addition to these latest nerve agent binding data, we have recently demonstrated that rBChE produced using the PER.C6 ® human cell line is readily scalable with greater than 99% purity," commented Dr. John Troyer, Vice President, Chemical Defense Product Development. "Moreover, the PER.C6 ® manufacturing platform yields up to two thousand-fold more product per liter than human plasma-derived BChE. Pharmacokinetic testing is currently underway and we expect to begin non-clinical efficacy testing in the coming months." About rBChE and Nerve Agents PharmAthene is developing rBChE as a pre- and post-exposure therapy for military or civilian victims of nerve agent attacks. Non-clinical studies in animals of PharmAthene's first generation rBChE product candidate have demonstrated that rBChE has the potential to provide significant protection against chemical nerve agent poisoning when administered prophylactically (prior to exposure to nerve agent) and also may increase survival when administered therapeutically (following nerve agent exposure).