PharmAthene creates rBChE bioscavenger to combat chemical weapons

PharmAthene, Inc., a company that develops medical agents against biological and chemical threats, found a defense against sarin and tabun Wednesday, which are believed to be the chemical agents allegedly used recently in Syria.

The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense completed the vitro testing of PharmAthene's butyrylcholinesterase bioscavenger and found it to successfully bind to many nerve agents, including chemical weapons sarin and tabun, and to provide protection against the damaging agents.

"These promising new data demonstrate that PharmAthene's next generation rBChE bioscavenger may be a viable candidate as a prophylactic and therapeutic for nerve agent poisoning," PharmAthene President and Chief Executive Officer Eric I. Richman said.

BChE is a protein that is naturally present in small quantities in blood and naturally absorbs toxins, some pesticides and nerve agents. This discovery may help combat and even reverse neurological damage from chemical threats.

Animal studies demonstrated that rBChE provides protection against chemical nerve poisoning and exposure, and it was shown to protect nerves and increase survival when used therapeutically.

"In addition to these latest nerve agent binding data, we have recently demonstrated that rBChE produced using the PER.C6 human cell line is readily scalable with greater than 99% purity," PharmAthene Vice President of Chemical Defense Product Development Dr. John Troyer said. "Moreover, the PER.C6 manufacturing platform yields up to two thousand-fold more product per liter than human plasma-derived BChE. Pharmacokinetic testing is currently underway and we expect to begin non-clinical efficacy testing in the coming months."