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14 Nov

Looking For A Long-Term Triple; Check Out NanoViricides

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On November 26, 2012 I published this report on NanoViricides (OTCBB:NNVC) calling it a solid 10-bagger opportunity. It’s been about a year and the company has not only listed on a national exchange but also advanced 209%. I encourage you to read my report from a year ago and then take a look at my latest research below. I strongly believe NanoViricides has the potential to trade well above $20, yes another 265%, for those looking for a long term idea.

NanoViricides – The Nano-Medicine Company That Thinks King Size

Deep down it is the ability of the biotech industry to find solutions for unmet medical needs that is driving the current upsurge in the sector. We have instances of companies with promising pipelines and no marketed drug valued at billion dollars and also companies with orphan drugs priced above $200,000 single handedly driving billion dollar valuations.

However, while some would say that it is a bubble waiting to burst, this writer is a firm believer that as long as investors apply their mind and choose bio stocks after due diligence, they can be reasonably assured of good, many times extraordinary, returns in the long run.

NanoViricides (AMEX:NNVC), is one such company, that has developed an innovative technology platform over which it can develop a number of drugs for several viruses.

NanoViricides

NanoViricides Inc is a development stage nano-biopharmaceutical company with a focus on life threatening viral infections. The company’s founder-president and also the principal investor, Anil R. Diwan, PhD, is an innovator-entrepreneur with a 25-year experience in the industry. Dr. Diwan developed TheraCour (therapeutic courier) Technology, which forms the basis of drugs being developed by NanoViricides.

To ensure quality corporate governance, the founder has made NanoViricides a public company with an independent Board of Directors.

Since the technology targets viruses, a brief introduction to the basics of viruses won’t be out of place here.

Viruses – basics

A virus is a pathogen which reproduces in the host’s body. It is an intelligent pathogen that, after invading, forces the host cell to reproduce thousands of copies of the original virus at an extremely rapid pace. These disease causing pathogens are one-hundredth the size of bacteria and as such, very elusive.

Antibiotics are ineffective against viruses. However, viruses provoke an immune response and are usually eliminated and normally the host cell develops lifetime immunity. Some viruses, such as herpes viruses, remain dormant for long periods causing persistent infections.

Science has discovered more than 5,000 species of viruses and each virus attacks a specific host cell or tissue and also has its own method of spreading – through moisture droplets while sneezing (influenza), through bodily fluids transferred through infected blood and during sex (HIV), the fecal-oral route (viral gastroenteritis) and blood sucking insects (dengue) and some by direct contact.

NanoViricides’ technology – a sought after new mechanism of action

A virus survives and propagates itself by attaching to the cell’s surface receptors, cell structures that exist for mediating between a chemical agent that acts on the nervous tissue and physiological response. The problem with viruses is that a virus keeps changing itself.

NanoViricides technology adopts an entirely new approach towards elimination of viruses. It is an approach that hasn’t been tried before. Drugs being developed by the company are not a standard anti-viral drug, nor vaccines or protease inhibitors. The technology does not target RNA or nucleotide mechanisms or something like that.

To counter the “intelligence” of viruses, the company is building “intelligent” nano-machines that use the virus’ own smartness to isolate, encapsulate and eliminate it. NanoViricides’ technology basically neutralizes the virus by tricking it to bind to the drug developed by it instead of the receptors on the cell surface. A compact but flexible mass envelops the virus, leading to loss of proteins it needs for survival.

Attacking the virus directly provides the safety, as well as the confidence that if preclinical studies of a drug succeed in animal models it will succeed in humans as well.

TheraCour technology carries two all-encompassing patents and eighteen applications for patents are pending in different countries. Keeping in mind the growing trend of countries denying patent protection, to ensure full protection the company plans to get as much as 100 patents.

Pipeline update – fighting the virus’s ability to develop drug resistance

Dr. Diwan, in a presentation, explained that resistance to drugs developed by NanoViricides is futile because they attack the virus directly. No matter whichever virus type, A, B or C or a new strain is causing influenza, the same drug would work to eliminate the virus. The quantity or sensitivity may vary, but the drug will be the same.

The company has six drugs in pipeline for five viruses, two of them in relatively advanced development stage. In early September, 2013, the company announced that its oral anti-influenza drug candidates, FluCide, demonstrated significant protection from the disease in animal models and also superior to oral TamiFlu of Roche (OTCBB: RHHBY)

Later, on October 7, 2013, the company announced that it had initiated a non-GLP toxicology evaluation of its optimized injectible FluCide after holding a pre-IND meeting with the FDA, a significant step in furtherance of the development process of the drug.

Earlier, in August 2013, the FDA granted orphan drug status to DengueCide, the company’s candidate for treatment of dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Summary

While injectible FluCide is meant for hospitalized patients with influenza, its oral version, if approved, will be the first ever effective oral anti-flu nano-medicine. The company is also studying the drug for immuno-compromised patients and might get an orphan drug status for that indication.

NanoViricides is the first company in the world that is developing oral nano-medicines. Nano medicine is being being promoted aggressively by the NCI but all products in development are injectibles for the simple reason that nano drugs breakdown easily in the stomach and by pancreatic fluids. NanoViricides has been able to develop a mechanism that allows nano-medicine to be delivered orally and still be effective. This opens up a very large market for the company. The company estimates the market size in the range of $4-7 billion for an oral anti-influenza nano medicine and for the full range of its pipeline drugs to be more than $40 billion.

At the same time, the fact is that the company’s entire pipeline is still in its nascent development stage and has yet to proceed towards human testing.

Investor viewpoint

Investment in biotech is all about potential and ability to carry on the development process. NanoViricides is a technology based biotech. It is a platform technology and there is no end to the number of drugs it can develop as only a small invention is required for working on a new drug for another virus.

NanoViricides provides an opportunity for investors with a long investment horizon – they might have to wait for a few years but the gains can be phenomenal.

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