Israeli biopharmaceutical company RedHill Biopharma has signed a collaboration agreement with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to research on its proprietary experimental therapy to treat Ebola virus disease.

NIAID conducts and supports research both across the US and the world, and is a unit of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a US government agency based in Bethesda, Maryland.

Ebola virus disease is a serious, and at most times fatal illness that can cause severe hemorrhagic fever in humans.

The mortality rate of people affected with Ebola virus ranges from 25% to 90%. So far, no treatment for Ebola virus disease has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"If successful, the research will provide supportive data for discussions with the FDA for potential use of the Animal Rule pathway for approval."

The research-oriented partnership has been formed after attaining encouraging results from preliminary non-clinical studies on the biopharmaceutical company’s proprietary experimental therapy, conducted in close collaboration with the NIAID.

The new research collaboration between RedHill Biopharma and NIAID aims at evaluating survival outcome, along with assessing disease severity by comparing viral loads and cytokine levels in active treatment arms and placebo.

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If successful, the research will provide supportive data for discussions with the FDA for potential use of the Animal Rule pathway for approval.

RedHill Biopharma mainly focuses on the development and commercialisation of late clinical-stage, proprietary, orally-administered, small molecule drugs for inflammatory and gastrointestinal diseases, as well as cancer.

Image: Electron micrograph of an Ebola virus virion. Photo: courtesy of CDC / Cynthia Goldsmith.