Koronis Pharmaceuticals said today it will begin testing its anti-HIV treatment in humans, after showing the drug's potential to wreak havoc with the killer human immunodeficiency virus in a lab setting.
While current approved treatments seek to inhibit HIV growth, the Redmond biotech's therapy aims to drive virus populations into extinction by spurring unfit mutations. The more degenerate an HIV strand becomes, the less likely it is to reproduce, says interim Chief Executive Donald Elmer.
Full extinction could occur "somewhere in the range of 40 or 50 days," Elmer says.
The clinical study will evaluate whether the product -- known as KP-1461-201 -- is safe and effective in patients who have become resistant to conventional HIV treatments. Up to 32 patients will receive two daily 1600mg doses of the therapy for 124 days.
Privately held Koronis expects to have preliminary results as early as the third quarter, but the drug still has many a hoop to jump through. If all clinical trials are successful and the Food and Drug Administration gives its blessing, the product could hit the market sometime in late 2010 or 2011, Elmer says.
Elmer also heads Pacific Horizon Ventures, which owns most of Koronis.