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June 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: PIP) announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued U.S. patent number 8,729,245 to PharmAthene, with claims that cover methods for the production of its recombinant butyrlcholinesterase (rBChE) bioscavenger in mammalian cells. PharmAthene is initially developing rBChE as a pre- and post-exposure therapy for military and civilian victims of nerve agent attacks.
"Organophosphorus compounds, including nerve agents and certain pesticides, are rapidly debilitating and lethal. Overexposure to these agents can cause the body's nerves to become over-stimulated, which leads to massive convulsions and death in severe cases," commented Dr.
John Troyer, Vice President, Chemical Defense Product Development for PharmAthene. "Because of its unique ability to neutralize these compounds, we believe that our bioscavenger has a wide range of potential biodefense and commercial applications. In addition to its application as a nerve agent medical countermeasure, rBChE may also have utility addressing pesticide overdose or certain orphan drug indications such as pseudocholinesterase deficiency, which is a condition that results in increased sensitivity to certain muscle relaxant drugs used during general anesthesia."
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, including nerve agents and certain pesticides, before they cause irreversible neurological damage.
Non-clinical studies in animals of a first generation rBChE product candidate have demonstrated that it 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).
"The use of chemical weapons on the battlefield or among civilians represents a potentially grave concern and there remains a clear need for more efficacious chemical weapons countermeasures. We believe that, if successful, our rBChE bioscavenger candidate could provide a more cost-effective and flexible solution to protect the U.S. military and citizens from the harmful effects of chemical weapons," concluded Dr. Troyer.