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Humanetics to develop new drugs for US Army to treat phosgene exposure

US-based Humanetics has entered into a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (USAMRICD) to evaluate its proprietary compound BIO 300 as a therapeutic for phosgene exposure.

Phosgene, which is classified as a toxic industrial chemical, is currently used to make chemicals and pesticides.

At room temperature Phosgene is a poisonous gas and poses a significant public health threat.

This gas can have devastating effects on the respiratory system and death can result if exposure is not met with prompt medical intervention.

Humanetics CEO Ronald Zenk said in today’s uncertain geopolitical environment, research in the area of medical chemical countermeasures is more relevant than ever.

"We’re looking forward to partnering with USAMRICD on this important work," Zenk said.

Long-term effects of the inhalation of this gas include irreversible emphysema, fibrosis and increased incidence of chronic pneumonitis and fibrinous pneumonia.

Under the deal, Humanetics and the USAMRICD will assess whether BIO 300 will improve survival following phosgene exposure as well as mitigate the acute and delayed respiratory effects, thus reducing lung damage resulting from exposure.

The company said that successful demonstration of increased survival in the initial evaluation will result in the start and completion of additional studies to determine the optimal BIO 300 treatment regimen.

If there are any positive results, BIO 300 will further be evaluated in comparative studies carried out against other drug candidates using additional therapeutic endpoints.

The company said that the deal is effective 08 January 2014 and research will formally be initiated in March of this year.