First Health Research
First Health United can count on First Health Pharmaceuticals’ research work. First Health Pharma has started clinical development of the first ever generation of Translation Inhibitor antiretroviral compounds which offer unique possibilities uncommon to traditional HIV antivirals, such as significantly reduced resistance development, improved delivery in the body, low toxicity and the possibility of successful co-application in wake-up strategies of dormant reservoir cells.
RNA helicase DDX3
First Health Pharmaceuticals’ research group is the only one in the world that developed a large portfolio of small molecule DDX3 Helicase inhibitors, for use both as antivirals and anti tumor agents. As such, many highly specialised research groups around the world are interested in testing its compounds, in order to gain more insight in the complex cellular RNA helicase biochemistry, related to the pathogens they are working on.
Unlike Protease Inhibitors, which actually allow newly formed virions to exit the cell, Translation Inhibitors effectively block the production of new virions by the inhibition of the DDX3 helicase enzyme, a vital co-factor of the host cell’s protein apparatus, hijacked by the virus, during its translation from proviral host cell DNA. This way, viral components remain trapped within the cell because the synthesis of the essential polyproteins is disrupted.
For decades already, the HIV virus has proven to be capable of rapidly developing resistance against all the retroviral drugs that have been thrown against it. The problem of resistance development has been largely circumvented by the latest generations of Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapies (HAART) which basically consist of the combined application of different classes of antiretroviral drugs with the aim of confusing the resistance development mechanisms of the virus.
Whilst antiretroviral drugs have proven to be active against the HIV virus, they all target some of HIV’s own viral proteins needed for its reproduction cycle. Some of these proteins are needed for the viral entrance into our cells while others are needed during the reproduction stage.
First Health Pharma’s DDX3 RNA Helicase inhibiting Translation Inhibitor class of compounds do not target viral proteins but temporarily inhibit an enzyme of our own RNA cell biology that is of vital importance for the virus during its reproduction cycle. As such the virus finds itself in an impossible situation in which mutating its own viral proteins is no longer helpful in escaping from the drug effect; thus no, or less drug-resistant strains are selected and expanded.