Cambridge biotech offers an Ebola drug, but no takers so far

(Reuters photo)
(Reuters photo)

The Globe today reports on a local angle to the Ebola outbreak: Cambridge-based Sarepta Therapeutics has an unproven treatment for the virus that has killed nearly 900 in Africa and infected two American relief workers.

But there hasn’t been any demand for the drug so far, according to a Sarepta executive.

The two American relief workers, who were infected in Liberia and flown to Atlanta for treatment, have instead been given a different untested treatment, whose lead producer is Mapp Biopharmaceutical of San Diego.

Development of the Sarepta drug began in 2010—with up to $291 million in federal funding pledged (both for the Ebola drug and a Marburg virus treatment). But the work was canceled in 2012 due to budget cutbacks, the Globe reported.

Nonetheless, Sarepta VP Diane Berry said the Ebola drug has “seen favorable safety” in testing so far, and said the company has enough doses to treat about two dozen patients within a week. Sarepta could also produce enough doses for 100 patients within months.

From the article:

Sarepta Therapeutics executives have been in touch with the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Food and Drug Administration, and other federal agencies to alert them to the drug supply the company currently has available, the company said.

So far, Berry said, no one has asked for the drug. But federal officials have assured the company that the agencies would probably approve use of the drug if patients request it, she said.

Kyle Alspach has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since 2005 and was one of the original staff writers at BetaBoston.
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