A Durham drug maker announced Tuesday evening that it will provide critical drugs for a dying 7-year-old boy after his family put pressure on the company to do so, largely through social media.
Supporters of a dying 7-year-old had planned to travel to Durham Thursday to convince drug maker Chimerix to release an experimental drug that could save the boy.
The family of Josh Hardy plan on making the trip from Fredicksburg, Va., to Chimerix Pharmaceutical Company in Durham in hopes their presence will change the company's mind.
Hardy is currently hospitalized at St. Jude's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., where his heart and kidneys are failing. Hardy has battled cancer four times.
"Conversations with him are pretty limited with him," said Hardy's mother, Aimee Hardy. "He might say a few words and fall asleep."
Hardy developed an acute infection known as adenovirus after a bone marrow transplant.
Doctors at St. Jude's recommended what is called "compassionate use" of an experimental drug named brincidofovir.
Chimerix originally said the drug is in its final stages of clinical trials and it cannot be made available yet.
"I just cannot imagine a company that has a drug out there that can save a child's life and not let them have it," said Hardy's grandmother, Mae Staton.
In a statement earlier Tuesday, Chimerix CEO Ken Moch said there are no words to express the company's compassion for the family but it ended compassionate use of the drug two years ago.
"We made a difficult decision two years ago to end our compassionate use program and focus all our efforts on earning FDA approval for brincidofovir," Moch said.
But late Tuesday, Chimerix said it had "reached agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the immediate initiation of a pilot trial of open-label brincidofovir for the treatment of adenovirus infections in immunocompromised patients."
Moch, in a statement, said Hardy will be the first patient in a pilot trial of brincidofovir and will be enrolled Wednesday.
"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.
Visit the Facebook page supporting Josh Hardy.
Read more about Chimerix's brincidofovir.
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Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.
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