Lidak Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced Wednesday that it willbe issued a new patent for internal use of its anti-viral drugand that the National Institutes of Health has awarded it asmall business innovation research grant (SBIR) to investigatethe compound's internal effectiveness.

The company said it received notice of allowance on the 18claims of a new U.S. patent two months ago. A previous patentissued in 1989 covered the topical use of the compound,Lidakol. Preclinical tests show topical effectiveness ofLidakol against herpes viruses. The company has submitted aninvestigational new drug application to the Food and DrugAdministration to enter the topical drug into clinical trials.

Lidakol is a long-chain aliphatic alcohol that inserts itself inthe cell membrane, Dr. David H. Katz , Lidak's chairman andchief executive officer, told BioWorld. "It appears to disturbviral penetration into the target cell, with 98 percent orgreater inhibition of intracellular replication of virus," hesaid.

Preclinical work suggests the alcohol is compatible withinternal use against certain retroviruses, Katz said, includingcertain leukemia viruses and the virus that causes AIDS.

The La Jolla, Calif., company expects to develop Lidakol as abroad-spectrum anti-viral and as an anti-inflammatory agent.

The Phase I SBIR gives $50,000 to the company, and Lidak canthen apply for a Phase II grant potentially worth $500,000over two years.

Lidak (NASDAQ:LDAKU,LDAKA) has a 20-year technologyagreement with the La Jolla-based Medical Biology Institute.Technology developed by the non-profit institute will beexclusively marketed by Lidak.

Besides Lidakol, the company will commercialize theinstitute's immune-deficient mice implanted with afunctioning human immune system.

-- Roberta Friedman, Ph.D. Special to BioWorld

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