Chimerix CEO delighted his company can provide drug for ill Virginia boy

The Durham drug company that just approved Josh Hardy to use an experimental drug is speaking out.
March 12, 2014 3:33:09 PM PDT
The power of the media and social media is being credited with giving hope to a 7-year-old Virginia first grader fighting for his life.

The Durham drug company that just approved Josh Hardy to use an experimental drug is speaking out.

The CEO of this small pharmaceutical company knows more than anyone, the amount of public pressure Chimerix has been under this week.

Chimerix CEO Kenneth Moch told ABC11 the initial decision to deny Josh the medicine was not about money or insensitivity. It was principle.

"What we are trying to make clear is that while we have great empathy for Josh, it's about the many Joshes," said Moch.

Moch told ABC11 that he's delighted his company can now provide Josh with the potentially life-saving medicine, called Brincidofovir.

"It's the only drug we have," said Moch.

This tiny 54 person drug maker found itself at the center of a firestorm over its decision to deny Josh the experimental drug after a "compassionate use" request from the boy's medical team.

Doctors told Josh's parents that the medicine may be only cure for a life threatening virus Josh contracted after a bone marrow transplant.

Chimerix was adamant that it would be unfair to give the drug to Josh since it's denied so many other requests -- even those with family ties to the company.

"We've said no to family members of employees of this company and friends of employees of this company," said Moch.

However, the initial decision to deny Josh the drug sparked a backlash. The company had to beef up security. There were death threats, and a barrage of emails and tweets from a growing social media campaign.

"We certainly took a lot of heat for what we believe and what we believe is the right thing- it has to be equal access," said Moch.

In a surprise announcement Tuesday night, Chimerix announced a new pilot study for the medicine Josh needs. He will be the first of 20 patients to get it.

His mom told us by text message, "It is completely unbelievable what has transpired since last Thursday -- nothing short of a miracle. We are so thankful that Chimerix was able to release the medicine for Josh. The truth of the matter is he is still in the ICU and we would like to focus on him making a full recovery."

"I have a phenomenal team and I can't tell you how much the people here pulled together and worked so hard over the course of a really intense week," said Moch.

With the controversy quelled, protests that were planned outside the company on Thursday have been called off.

Meantime, Josh's battle is far from over. He began treatment Wednesday with the new drug. His doctors are confident, but there are no guarantees.

? Click here for to see the #SaveJosh Facebook page. ?

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