CATCHING THE BUG

Antiviral InteliStrat Inc. announced in mid-May the launch of a “unique database that has no equivalent worldwide”—a Web-based product that is said to be the most complete and detailed database ever on drugs and vaccines for viral infections in humans.

June19th,2007
Jeffrey Bouley
MONTREAL—Antiviral InteliStrat Inc. announced in mid-May the launch of a "unique database that has no equivalent worldwide"—a Web-based product that is said to be the most complete and detailed database ever on drugs and vaccines for viral infections in humans. The database contains more than 1,700 files describing compounds and vaccines developed exclusively for viral diseases from more than 450 sponsors.
 
In addition to drugs and vaccines currently available on the market, the database also contains several hundred products that are either filed for approbation by regulatory authorities, are still being evaluated in clinical trials, or are at earlier stages of development.
 
The database even includes several products that failed at one point during development and were abandoned, products that Dr. Jocelyn Yelle, president of Antiviral InteliStrat, believes can still provide valuable information for drug discovery and development.
 
"The main point of doing this, though, is that the database has been designed specifically with viral needs in mind," Yelle says. "Also, it has information in relation to antiviral drugs and vaccines. Most other databases in the pharmaceutical world contain only information on drugs. It is rare to find drugs and vaccines in the same database."
 
Many other large databases that would include virus-oriented remedies or preventives contain information on antibacterials and other compounds unrelated to virology, which only makes it harder for researchers in the virology community to find what they are really looking for, Yelle notes.
 
"Also, this database contains information for all types of viral disease in humans, not just HIV or HPV as many viral databases do," he says. The database is organized by specific virus and virus family, he adds, which not only aids researchers in finding exactly what they need, but also allows them to subscribe just to specific viruses or families within the database rather than subscribing to the entire product.
 
Yelle's work on the database began two years ago, and was very much a personal project. He was previously co-founder and vice president of R&D for Pharmacor Inc.—which was later acquired by Procyon Biopharma and is now Ambrilia Biopharma Inc.—where he spearheaded research programs that led to the discovery of PL-100, a protease inhibitor for HIV/AIDS now being developed by Merck.
 
Yelle decided he wanted to start up a new pharma company after leaving Pharmacor, but realized that finding startup funding for such a company would be very difficult. So, he says, he decided to start working on a database that would help give such a company a leg up in marketing its potential. In doing so, though, Yelle realized he was creating something that was in itself a marketable product, and he founded Antiviral InteliStrat instead to offer that product.
 
"All of the information in the database is publicly accessible, but you have to visit many different sites to find it," Yelle explains. "You might find structures on one site but have to look on another for the biologicals. And then you have to worry about the reliability of a given site, so you have to cross-compare information from site to site. It's possible, but it takes time and patience, and this database helps shorten that process."
 
Yelle continues to work on expanding the database but has no immediate plans to create any new products. His next task in improving the current database is to add a section on microbicides.
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