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Cymraeg

Welsh shingles drug set for final hurdle

23 March 2010

A new Welsh-developed drug to help alleviate the suffering of shingles could move a step closer for patients if the final stage of testing is given the go-ahead .

A new shingles drug (FV-100), discovered by Professor Chris McGuigan’s team from Cardiff University’s Welsh School of Pharmacy together with a virology group at the Rega Institute in Belgium and US biopharmaceutical company, Inhibitex Inc, is expectedto complete Phase II of its clinical trials later this year.

A new Welsh-developed drug to help alleviate the suffering of shingles could move a step closer for patients if the final stage of testing is given the go-ahead .

A new shingles drug (FV-100), discovered by Professor Chris McGuigan’s team from Cardiff University’s Welsh School of Pharmacy together with a virology group at the Rega Institute in Belgium and US biopharmaceutical company, Inhibitex Inc, is expectedto complete Phase II of its clinical trials later this year.

If the drug completes Phase II, it will enter the third and final stage of clinical testing, which, if successful, could see the drug approved and available to patients in less than five years.

Cardiff University's Professor of Medical Chemistry, Chris McGuigan, who led the
team which discovered the new antiviral drug, said: "We are approaching the final and most crucial stage in the journey from the discovery of a new drug to the market.

"If we successfully complete Phase III clinical trials, the drug could be available to help alleviate the pain and suffering for millions of shingles patients, not only in Wales but across the world."

Shingles is caused by the same viral infection that causes chicken pox. It is estimated that one-in-five people in the US, Europe and Japan will be affected by the condition during their lifetime.

The condition is characterised by skin lesions, blisters and rash, and acute pain, and in many cases, post-herpetic neuralgia which is a painful and often highly distressing condition resulting from nerve damage caused by the virus. Initial tests of FV-100 showed it has the potential to reduce all of these symptoms.

In Phase I trials of FV-100, no serious adverse events in healthy volunteers were reported and data supported the potential for once-a-day dosing in future trials.

Previous lab research has also shown the drug to be up to 10,000 times more potent against the virus than existing shingles treatments.

Professor McGuigan, who will deliver a summary on the importance of new drug development to a briefing of AMs this week, added: "We believe this drug has the potential to be the most powerful inhibitor ever discovered to treat shingles.

"Each year only 15-20 new medicines are approved for clinical use and the chance of FV100 becoming an approved medicine improves the further we successfully progress through each of the clinical stages.

"We are incredibly excited at the prospect of FV-100 becoming commercially available in the future, and potentially being the first drug discovered in Cardiff University to make it to the marketplace."

-Ends-

Notes:

1. More information, please contact:

Professor Chris McGuigan
Professor of Medical Chemistry
Welsh School of Pharmacy
Tel: 02920 874 537
E-mail: mcguigan@cardiff.ac.uk

Or

Chris Jones
Public Relations
Cardiff University
Tel: 02920 870 995
E-mail: jonesc83@cardiff.ac.uk

2. Cardiff University
Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain's leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK's most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University's breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.

3. Welsh School of Pharmacy
The Welsh School of Pharmacy, which was founded in 1919, is the only school of pharmacy in Wales. For nearly a century, the School has cultivated a strong tradition of innovative pharmaceutical education, scientific research and service to the pharmacy profession, especially in Wales.

The School is recognised in independent government assessments as one of the top UK schools of pharmacy.

There are more than 40 members of full-time staff and a very active undergraduate student organisation WPSA - the Welsh Pharmacy Students Association. Pharmacy teaching at Cardiff frequently features at the top of national league tables of excellence.

Research in the Welsh School of Pharmacy in Cardiff currently encompasses aspects of all facets of the study of drugs, including: the discovery of new potential drug entities, using synthetic chemistry; formulation of drugs to achieve targeted responses; pharmacological studies of mechanisms of drug action; as well as researching elements of current medical and pharmaceutical practice.

The School also oversees the activities of the Welsh Centre for Pharmacy Professional Education, which is concerned with continuing education for all of Wales' 2,100 pharmacists.