ICN, Army to Conduct Joint Study of Ribavirin

Officials of ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc. and the Army's medical research arm plan to launch a joint 15-year study of the anti-viral drug ribavirin, the Costa Mesa drug maker said Wednesday.

As part of the agreement, ICN and its two subsidiaries, Viratrek Inc. and SPI Pharmaceuticals Inc., will share information on the drug with the Army's Medical Research and Development Command. The agreement calls for the Army to file several new drug applications with the Food and Drug Administration in the next two years that would cover possible new applications for ribavirin. The Army and the companies also will cross-license each other on any future developments, such as wholesale distribution of the drug, according to an ICN statement issued Wednesday.

The Food and Drug Administration gave ICN permission last December to sell ribavirin to treat respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, a disease that frequently strikes infants. ICN markets the drug under the brand name Virazole.

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