Our primary pharmaceutical product platform consists of our experimental compound, Ampligen®, our FDA approved natural interferon product, Alferon N Injection®, and our experimental liquid natural interferon for oral administration, Alferon® LDO (Low Dose Oral).
Ampligen® is an experimental drug currently undergoing clinical development for the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). The FDA has so far declined to approve our NDA for the treatment of CFS with Ampligen® and has requested that we generate additional clinical data. Over its developmental history, Ampligen® has received various designations, including Orphan Drug Product Designation (FDA), Treatment protocol (e.g., “Expanded Access” or “Compassionate” use authorization) with Cost Recovery Authorization (FDA) and “promising” clinical outcome recognition based on the evaluation of certain summary clinical reports (“AHRQ” or Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality). Ampligen® represents the first drug in the class of large (macromolecular) RNA (nucleic acid) molecules to apply for NDA review. Based on the results of published, peer reviewed pre-clinical studies and clinical trials, we believe that Ampligen® may have broad-spectrum anti-viral and anti-cancer properties.
Alferon N Injection®
Alferon N Injection® is the registered trademark for our injectable formulation of natural alpha interferon, which was approved by the FDA in 1989 for the treatment of certain categories of genital warts. Alferon® is the only natural-source, multi-species alpha interferon currently approved for sale in the U.S. for the intralesional (within lesions) treatment of refractory (resistant to other treatment) or recurring external genital warts in patients 18 years of age or older. Certain types of human papilloma viruses (“HPV”) cause genital warts, a sexually transmitted disease (“STD”). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) estimates that “approximately twenty million Americans are currently infected with HPV with another six million becoming newly infected each year. HPV is so common that at least 50% of sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives.” Although they do not usually result in death, genital warts commonly recur, causing significant morbidity and entail substantial health care costs.
Interferons are a group of proteins produced and secreted by cells to combat diseases. Researchers have identified four major classes of human interferon: alpha, beta, gamma and omega. Alferon N Injection® contains a multi-species form of alpha interferon. The world-wide market for injectable alpha interferon-based products has experienced rapid growth and various alpha interferon injectable products are approved for many major medical uses worldwide. Alpha interferons are manufactured commercially in three ways: by genetic engineering, by cell culture, and from human white blood cells. All three of these types of alpha interferon are or were approved for commercial sale in the U.S. Our natural alpha interferon is produced from human white blood cells.
The potential advantages of natural alpha interferon over recombinant (synthetic) interferon produced and marketed by other pharmaceutical firms may be based upon their respective molecular compositions. Natural alpha interferon is composed of a family of proteins containing many molecular species of interferon. In contrast, commercial recombinant alpha interferon products each contain only a single species. Researchers have reported that the various species of interferons may have differing antiviral activity depending upon the type of virus. Natural alpha interferon presents a broad complement of species, which we believe may account for its higher activity in laboratory studies. Natural alpha interferon is also glycosylated (partially covered with sugar molecules). Such glycosylation is not present on the currently U.S. marketed recombinant alpha interferons. We believe that the absence of glycosylation may be, in part, responsible for the production of interferon-neutralizing antibodies seen in patients treated with recombinant alpha interferon. Although cell culture-derived interferon is also composed of multiple glycosylated alpha interferon species, the types and relative quantity of these species are different from our natural alpha interferon.
Alferon N Injection® [Interferon alfa-n3 (human leukocyte derived)] is a highly purified, natural-source, glycosylated, multi-species alpha interferon product. There are essentially no neutralizing antibodies observed against Alferon N Injection® to date and the product has a relatively low side-effect profile. The recombinant DNA derived alpha interferon formulations have been reported to have decreased effectiveness after one year, probably due to neutralizing antibody formation.
Alferon® LDO (Low Dose Oral)
Alferon® LDO [Low Dose Oral Interferon Alfa-n3 (Human Leukocyte Derived)] is an experimental low-dose, oral liquid formulation of Natural Alpha Interferon and like Alferon N Injection®, should not cause antibody formation, which is a problem with recombinant interferon. It is an experimental immunotherapeutic believed to work by stimulating an immune cascade response in the cells of the mouth and throat, enabling it to bolster systemic immune response through the entire body by absorption through the oral mucosa. Oral interferon could be economically feasible for patients and logistically manageable globally for development programs for prevention and, or treatment of pandemic influenza, seasonal influenza and other emerging viruses. Oral administration of Alferon® LDO, with its anticipated affordability, low toxicity, no production of antibodies, and broad range of potential bioactivity, could be a breakthrough treatment or preventative for viral diseases.