Fun fact: The word mosquito actually translates to “little fly” in Spanish. Although you’re more likely to hear them called a whole host of profanities in many households.
If the blood sucking pests weren’t annoying enough, they carry diseases like dengue fever. An estimated 390 million people are infected with dengue each year.
What was once a disease of developing countries is spreading. With the rise of global warming, mosquitoes carrying dengue are travelling further. In recent years there has been a rise in reported cases in Florida, USA and North Queensland. Prolific case numbers were also noted amongst ‘fly in, fly out’ workers in Western Australian mining industry.
Currently there is no treatment for mosquito borne viruses. Australian antiviral drug development company, Island Pharmaceuticals (ASX: ILA) is working to change this by repurposing existing drugs for the treatment of mosquito borne viruses. Their lead program is the development of ISLA-101, a drug with a well known safety profile for antiviral use.
The Company has announced that they have been granted a patent relating to the drug by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patent grant was issued on May 18th. Island has licensed the IP portfolio generated by Monash University.
Dr Paul MacLeman, Executive Chairman of Island Pharmaceuticals said “Mosquito borne viruses, such as dengue, Zike and others represent major unmet medical needs throughout the world and about 3 billion people- or 40% of the world’s population- live in areas with a risk of dengue.”
“Having an allowed patent that protects Island’s lead program in this large market provides protection for the development of ISLA-10 and further underpins our ability to advance the program in the US- a key target market.”
ISLA-101 is advancing towards a Phase 2 clinical trial in people with dengue. Should the drug obtain FDA approval and meet other certain criteria, the drug may be eligible for a ‘Priority Review Voucher” which will expedite the approval process for the new drug.
Island listed on the ASX in mid-April of this year after an oversubscribed $7.5 million IPO at a $0.25 Offer Price.