‘Four years, or less,’ for Zika therapeutic, says Ennaid CEO

By Melissa Fassbender

- Last updated on GMT

Ennaid Therapeutics currently is finishing feasibility studies. (Image: iStock)
Ennaid Therapeutics currently is finishing feasibility studies. (Image: iStock)
Ennaid Therapeutics has announced it is developing therapeutic cures to help those that may become infected with the Zika Virus, and it may be available in less than four years.

The company is planning on developing the therapeutic cure using its platform technology of peptide fusion inhibitors that have shown effectiveness against mosquito-borne viruses transmitted by the Aedes species mosquito.

Our initial focus had been Dengue virus, against which our fusion peptide inhibitors have shown 99% inhibition in vitro​,” Darnisha Harrison, Ennaid Therapeutics' CEO, told us.

Dengue and Zika are transmitted by the same mosquito and are both of the flavivirus genus​,” she added. “Given the similarities of both viruses, we anticipate an effective respond with our peptides against Zika virus, also​.”

The company also anticipates the same effectiveness with other mosquito-borne viruses, such as Chikungunya, West Nile, and Yellow Fever.


Many anti-virals are even more effective when combination therapy plays a part​,” expalined Harrison.

We have keenly learned that convenient dosing for globally distributed therapeutics is a key factor in commercializing and distributing anti-vitals​.”

Harrison also added, that because the Aedes species mosquito is widely spread across the globe, “it will indeed take therapeutics, vaccines and mosquito control to stop these viruses from continuing to spread​.”

Ennaid Therapeutics currently is finishing feasibility studies to determine the percentage of inhibition its technology has on Zika. The next step will be to conduct safety/toxicity studies in animals.

Based on the fast-track development cycle, Harrison predicts the therapeutic could be commercialized​ in four years – depending on how fast they are able to determine safety, this time frame could be shorter.

We currently have a number of grants circulating within federal government agencies who have solicited researchers, such as Ennaid Therapeutics, to develop a Zika therapeutic​,” said Harrison.

The company is also in discussions with a potential private investor and is open to funding from multiple sources.

As for manufacturing, Harrison said: “We will certainly partner with a world-class CMO to get clinical and commercial material of our therapeutic manufactured. Strategic partnerships are very key to our development process.​”

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