PLANTATION, Fla. -- Viragen, Inc. today announced that it has filed a patent application in the
United States covering the use of its natural human leukocyte-derived alpha
interferon for the treatment and prevention of severe acute respiratory
syndrome (SARS). This is Viragen's third patent application related to the
"Based on growing evidence we are obtaining that supports alpha interferon
as a prime candidate for the treatment of SARS, we are moving forward with
patent strategies designed to protect the global positioning of
Multiferon, our natural human interferon," stated Dr. Karen Jervis,
Viragen's director of technology and projects coordinator.
While the immediate threat of SARS has been largely contained, many
international health officials continue to predict that additional global
outbreaks are likely to recur at some point in the future, possibly at
epidemic or pandemic scales. Viragen has been supporting SARS research by
providing samples of Multiferon to international research organizations
including the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), which last year reported
positive results from in vitro studies that placed Multiferon among the most
encouraging drug candidates tested.
Jervis reviewed the company's patent history with regards to SARS.
"We filed the original patent application with the British Patent Office in
May 2003 which covers the use of natural human leukocyte-derived alpha
interferon for the treatment and prevention of SARS. We then updated our U.K.
application in August 2003 to include additional data produced by the GIS
which we believe significantly strengthens our position. Now with patents
pending in the U.K. and U.S., we are potentially positioned not only for the
treatment of SARS, but also to include prophylactic properties which may
prevent infection from occurring. We believe we are establishing a broad
proprietary position for SARS in many international jurisdictions and,
therefore, continuing to enhance Viragen's growing intellectual property
The majority of alpha interferons that are marketed are single-subtype
recombinant interferons. Therapy resistance is not unusual with recombinant
interferons with a significant percentage of patients failing to respond to
standard therapy. In some instances, recombinant interferon is rejected by
the patient's immune system, usually caused by the formation of neutralizing
antibodies which may lead to a loss of clinical efficacy. Also, many patients
cannot tolerate the adverse side effects sometimes associated with recombinant
therapy. High doses of recombinant interferon may cause serious, even life-
threatening side effects.
Multiferon is a highly purified, multi-subtype, natural human alpha
interferon derived from human white blood cells and is approved in Sweden and
Mexico for the second-line treatment of any and all diseases in which patients
show an initial response to recombinant (synthetic) alpha interferon followed
by treatment failure, probably due to the formation of neutralizing
Viragen is a biotechnology company specializing in the research,
development and commercialization of natural and recombinant protein-based
drugs designed to treat a broad range of viral and malignant diseases. These
protein-based drugs include natural human alpha interferon, monoclonal
antibodies, peptide drugs and therapeutic vaccines.
Source: Viragen, Inc.