12:00 AM
 | 
Mar 19, 2001
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Targeting the silently suffering majority

A cure for the common cold has long been a holy grail, but what that means in practice is another question. ViroPharma Inc. has developed strong expertise in picornaviruses, the main cause of viral respiratory infection (VRI), otherwise known as the common cold. The company now has Phase III data in hand showing that its Picovir pleconaril reduces cold symptoms by about a day, in addition to reducing symptom severity.

However, assuming FDA approval, the challenge for VPHM may be to persuade physicians to write prescriptions, patients to seek treatment and HMOs to foot the bill, at least until the company can ready Picovir for preventative use.

VPHM has ridden a bumpy road to an NDA filing for Picovir, expected mid-year. The small molecule, which binds VP1 picornavirus capsid protein, missed its primary end points in three prior Phase III studies(see BioCentury, April 17, 2000).A Phase III trial to treat VRI did not show a significant benefit in picornavirus-infected patients who were allowed to use concomitant cold medications. And in two Phase III studies to treat viral meningitis, one in adults and the other in pediatric patients, pleconaril did not show a significant reduction in time to complete resolution...

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