This week in therapeutics




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Infectious disease

Influenza virus

Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)

Rodent studies suggest a lipid A analog that blocks TLR4 activation could help treat influenza virus infection. In mice challenged with a lethal dose of influenza virus, the synthetic lipid A analog Eritoran decreased disease pathology and cytokine signaling compared with saline. Eritoran also increased survival, even when started as late as six days postinfection. In cotton rats, Eritoran also decreased lung pathology and cytokine signaling compared with saline. Next steps include testing the compound in aged cotton rat models of influenza infection and in combination with antivirals.
Eisai Co. Ltd.'s Eritoran (E5564), a synthetic lipid A analog that blocks TLR4 activation, failed to meet the primary endpoint of reduced mortality in Phase III testing for sepsis, and development has been put on hold (see Eritoran insight for influenza treatment, page 1).

SciBX 6(19); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.469
Published online May 16, 2013

Patent application filed covering method of use; available for licensing

Shirey, K.A. et al. Nature; published online May 1, 2013;
Contact: Stefanie N. Vogel, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.