Nanotherapeutics receives contract to develop smallpox drug

ALACHUA, Fla. — Nanotherapeutics Inc. has been awarded a $30.9 million, five-year contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop an inhaled version of the injectable antiviral drug, cidofovir, for non-invasive, post-exposure prevention and treatment of smallpox (Variola major).

Because transmission of smallpox occurs through inhalation of airborne variola virus, anti-viral treatment alternatives with proven agents (cidofovir) are needed. Development of inhaled cidofovir will also provide an alternative for those who have contraindications to the currently approved smallpox vaccination such as immunosuppression and pregnancy.

Inhaled cidofovir could decrease the proportion of the population that would remain susceptible to smallpox because of their inability to be vaccinated.