Redox Pharmaceutical Corp. (formerly Chai-Tech Corp.)announced Friday that it is ready to test its anti-viral drugDoxovir in the clinic.

Doxovir, a small organic compound with a core of the metal ioncobalt, has proved effective against herpes simplex virus types1 and 2 and human cytomegalovirus in animal studies of eyeinfection. The drug exhibits both anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activity, Tod Cooperman, Redox's president, toldBioWorld.

In fact, Cooperman explained, Doxovir and related compoundswere originally designed as anti-inflammatory agents byscientists at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The ideawas to come up with a non-protein compound that wouldscavenge highly toxic and tissue-damaging oxygen freeradicals. But the researchers found that the compounds alsohad very broad spectrum anti-viral activity, especially againstDNA viruses, as well as anti-microbial activity, Cooperman said.

In animal studies of herpes keratitis, caused by herpes simplex1, Doxovir is less irritating to the eye and requires less-frequent dosing than its competitor compound, BurroughsWellcome's Viroptic (trifluridine), Cooperman said.

"Also, Doxovir inhibits inflammation of the deeper eye layer,the stroma," he said. "Here, herpes infection can cause cornealblindness."

The privately held Greenvale N.Y., company will present itsdata on stromal herpes keratitis at this month's InternationalConference on Herpetic Eye Disease in New Orleans.

Cooperman predicted that Redox will file an investigationalnew drug (IND) application on Doxovir by late 1993. The firstclinical trials will be on ocular herpes keratitis, to be followedby other ocular applications such as treatments for Varicellazoster infections, Cooperman told BioWorld.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.