Countervail to develop anti-nerve agent compound

Countervail Corp. announced Nov. 8 that it has received an additional $5.4 million to research nerve agent counter measures from the Department of Homeland Security and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA.)

The company is to continue the development of AverTox, a trade name for galantamine hydrobromide to combat organophosphorus-based nerve toxins. After positive clinical results, it is believed that the compound can protect nerves from deadly toxins.

“AverTox™ has shown favorable laboratory results as a neuroprotectant against the toxic effects of nerve agents such as Sarin and VX. We are pleased to have the continued support from BARDA for the development of this promising drug,” CEO and president of Countervail Bill Basinger said.

To date Countervail is the first to receive support from BARDA to develop anti-chemical measures. The company has received $10.7 million of its $24.9 million contract.

Nerve agents attack the nerve cells by preventing the cells from transmitting information. Victims will have contracted pupils, excessive salivation and convulsions before eventually dying of asphyxiation due to the loss of respiratory muscle control. Such agents are outlawed by the United Nations and are considered as weapons of mass destruction. Treaties that forbid their use include Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 and the Geneva Protocol of 1926.

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