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VentiRx, With Venti-Sized Ambition to Treat (and Maybe Prevent) Allergies, Passes First Big Test

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have either already lost patent protection or soon will face competition from cheaper generics, which Kamdar says should create an opening for a novel once-weekly nasal spray that should work against a lot of different kinds of allergies.

The path to FDA approval has been traveled many times by other pharma companies, and VentiRx used the same standard clinical trial goal (Total Nasal Symptom Scores) that the FDA has used to assess allergy drugs of the past. And the VentiRx drug is a conventional small-molecule chemical, not a protein drug, meaning it should be cheap and easy to manufacture as a mass-marketed product for millions of people.

“We can see a clear path to [FDA] registration as a therapeutic, and see a good size opportunity,” Kamdar says.

Of course, this being VentiRx, Hershberg had to slip in a little joke at the end of the interview about the company name. Hershberg, a Seattleite to the core, loves to remind people that the company name was inspired by the biggest coffee drink sold by Starbucks, the 20-ounce venti. The company called itself VentiRx, he once said, because “it’s going to be big.”

This time, he acknowledged that while VentiRx has generated some potentially big data, it has some Venti-sized work ahead. “We’ll have a few ventis around here and move this forward,” he said.

I asked him to clarify whether he meant venti-sized coffee, or maybe a venti-sized beer to celebrate passing the Phase I trial? He didn’t hesitate in answering that one.

“We’re going to have to have a few more venti coffees,” Hershberg says. “The venti ales will have to wait until after FDA approval.”

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