Amarillo partners Intas in interferon-alpha lozenge trials to treat influenza in India

Texan biotech Amarillo Biosciences has agreed to a strategic partnership with Intas Pharmaceuticals of India, whereby Intas will sponsor clinical trials of Amarillo's orally administered interferon-alpha lozenges in order to combat influenza. Intas will pay Amarillo a royalty on net sales after marketing approval is obtained in India.

Texan biotech Amarillo Biosciences has agreed to a strategic partnership with Intas Pharmaceuticals of India, whereby Intas will sponsor clinical trials of Amarillo's orally administered interferon-alpha lozenges in order to combat influenza. Intas will pay Amarillo a royalty on net sales after marketing approval is obtained in India.

The objective of clinical trials in India is to determine the efficacy of low-dose oral interferon in reducing the severity of infection with influenza viruses such as H1N1.

Amarillo has been conducting studies on the drug to treat and prevent respiratory tract disease in animals and has found it to be safe and effective for cats, cattle and horses.

Amarillo's double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II trial on human volunteers in Perth, Western Australia, is expected to show that the orally administered interferon lozenges can safely reduce the infection rate and severity of symptoms. The results of the study will be released before the end of the year.

"Influenza viruses mutate to evade the effects of anti-viral drugs," said Dr Joseph Cummins, chief executive of Amarillo. "Influenza viruses do not mutate to evade interferon, but instead they have a strategy to sabotage the host interferon system. By giving people interferon orally, we believe we can overcome this viral strategy."

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