A pharmaceutical company that produces medication needed to save a dying 7-year-old boy will begin a pilot trial for the drug – with the child to be the program’s first patient beginning on Wednesday, the firm said Tuesday night.
The announcement comes after the company, Chimerix, faced intense media scrutiny after it reportedly denied the medication brincidofovir to Josh Hardy, a Fredericksburg, Va. boy who developed a bone marrow disorder as a result of his cancer treatments late last year.
At one point, CEO Kenneth I. Moch had been accused of hanging up in a phone call from a representative from a charity that had offered to pay for the medication.
However, Moch said in a statement Tuesday night that the company would provide the much-needed drug.
"This 20-patient open-label study underscores Chimerix's mission to develop innovative antiviral therapies in areas of high unmet need -- for everyone," Moch said. "Being unable to fulfill requests for compassionate use is excruciating, and not a decision any one of us ever wants to have to make. It is essential that each individual in a health crisis be treated with equal gravity and value, a principle we have upheld by pursuing further clinical study of brincidofovir that will inform its use in adenovirus and other serious DNA viral infections."
Through a grassroots campaign launched by Josh’s mother, Chimerix had received hundreds of phone calls and emails in support of Josh, and the hashtag #savejosh had been trending on Twitter. Supporters even chartered buses so they could protest at the company’s headquarters.
Although support for Josh is strong, Hardy’s mother, Aimee Hardy, has said her son is running out of time.
“It’s horrible for us as parents to see, because he’s a vibrant, strong little boy, and even though he is frail, he has a very strong will about him,” Hardy told Fox News. “But things just keep stacking against him, and we just want to do everything we can to give him the opportunity to make a full recovery.”
Dr. Robert Hariri, the CEO of the biotechnology company Celgene, told FoxNews.com on Tuesday that colleagues in the industry "look to a company like Chimerix to provide an example of being heroic in these situations for the best interest of society."
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