MyTomorrows, a company that provides information and facilitates requests regarding clinical trials, diagnostic tests and medicines through its internet-based platform, and Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc, a pharmaceutical company specialized in the development of new therapies for life-threatening disorders, have partnered in an effort to make Hemispherx’s natural alpha interferon therapy available to patients in Brazil, Columbia and Chile.
Multiple sclerosis, a debilitating autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, is usually treated with a range of medications that include injectable interferon. Interferons are naturally produced by human cells in response to tumors, viruses and other microbes and antigens. When interferons specifically bind to cell surface receptors, these molecules initiate an immune response and regulate the immune system. Alpha and beta interferons, two classes of human interferons, are very important in the treatment of several diseases.
Hemispherx Biopharma’s natural alpha interferon was developed with the intent to provide an alternative to patients that have become intolerant or unresponsive to recombinant alpha interferon. Recombinant interferons are produced through fermentation of genetically engineered bacteria, while the natural interferons are directly purified from a natural source after production by human white blood cells. One of the main advantages of natural alpha interferon, or Interferon Alfa-n3 as it is called in the U.S., is that due to its source and natural configuration it presents less clinical risk as it is more “friendly” to the human immune system.
The drugs, food and medical regulatory agency in Argentina, ANMAT, approved the natural product for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, cancer and hepatitis C in January 2012. The same agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved natural alpha interferon as a therapy for refractory and recurring external condylomata acuminate (genital warts).
Both companies have commented on the partnership that will allow patients in South America to have access to a more natural and less immunogenic treatment option. “We are pleased to include natural alpha interferon on our platform and make the product available to physicians and patients in three Latin-American countries. Once the physician and patient have jointly decided to request early access, we manage the complex and often time-consuming process of receiving approval from regulatory authorities and healthcare insurers and provide the product as quickly as possible.” stated Dr. Ronald Brus MD, founder and CEO of myTomorrows, in a press release.
Dr. William Carter, Chairman and CEO of Hemispherx also shared a positive statement regarding its company’s drug development, “We are very happy to be able to provide a treatment option for patients who have become intolerant to recombinant interferon or for whom such treatment fails. It’s great that physicians and patients in Brazil, Columbia and Chile now have the opportunity to access our product under the compassionate use regulations through the internet-based platform of myTomorrows.”