Products in Shelton firm's pipeline could end diseases

A company specializing in the emerging field of nanomedicine has opened in Shelton, offering the possibility that major healthcare advances could be developed in the city.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes cuts the ribbon at the new NanoViricides facility in Shelton while joined by company officials, including President and Chairman Anil R. Diwan, Interim Chief Financial Officer Meeta Vyas and Chief Executive Officer Eugene Seymour.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes cuts the ribbon at the new NanoViricides facility in Shelton while joined by company officials, including President and Chairman Anil R. Diwan, Interim Chief Financial Officer Meeta Vyas and Chief Executive Officer Eugene Seymour.

“The products being produced here could very well end diseases” such as influenza and dengue fever, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes said at this week’s opening of the NanoViricides Inc. facility on Controls Drive.

“This is truly a game changer for humankind,” Himes said.

He predicted the company’s president and chairman, Anil R. Diwan, could even win the Nobel Prize in medicine if products now in development at NanoViricides succeed.

Diwan said the firm has six medicines in the pipeline that would treat the flu, dengue, HIV, herpes (cold sores) and eye viruses.

 

Moving here from West Haven

With money raised from investors, NanoViricides has bought the 18,000-square-foot building at 1 Controls Drive, near Long Hill Cross Road. The company is now moving its facilities and employees there from West Haven.

The Shelton site will include manufacturing areas, labs, research-and-development space and offices. The building offers a lot of room for expansion.

It will be the only nanomedicine clinical product manufacturing facility in Connecticut.

“This is a big jump for us,” said Diwan, a bioscience researcher, inventor, patent-holder and entrepreneur.

NanoViricides will occupy this 18,000-square-foot building on Controls Drive, off Long Hill Cross Road.

NanoViricides will occupy this 18,000-square-foot building on Controls Drive, off Long Hill Cross Road.

He said the company’s scientists — who mostly hold Ph.D.s like himself — require lots of room when working on complex problems. “We need good people with special backgrounds,” Diwan said.

While the company only has 15 full-time employees at this time, Diwan said it hires many independent contractors “so our impact is much bigger.”

The upside potential also is tremendous, with Himes saying NanoViricides could have 3,000 employees in the future.

Diwan said the Shelton facility could “help foster a pharmaceutical start-up hub in Connecticut.”

 

‘Poised for success’

The opening included a luncheon under a tent outdoors, ribbon-cutting ceremony and brief speeches.

According to speakers, NanoViricides is involved in “ground-breaking medical technologies” and is helping to form the “backbone of the economy” in Connecticut.

Congressman Jim Himes, left, listens as NanoViricides Inc. founder Anil R. Diwan speaks at the opening of the company’s Shelton facility.

Congressman Jim Himes, left, listens as NanoViricides Inc. founder Anil R. Diwan speaks at the opening of the company’s Shelton facility.

Himes — who Diwan described as “our early supporter” — and other dignitaries were able to tour the building.

Diwan said he’s pleased investors have shown confidence in the firm, and he hopes the company’s research helps humans deal with diseases while also making money.

Paul Dorfman of the New York Stock Exchange, where NanoViricides was listed last year, said it was “a company poised for success.

Paul Dorfman, left, of the New York Stock Exchange talks about the future of NanoViricides, a firm headed by Anil R. Diwan, on the right.

Paul Dorfman, left, of the New York Stock Exchange talks about the future of NanoViricides, a firm headed by Anil R. Diwan, on the right.

Dorfman said he doesn’t expect NanoViricides to remain a small company forever, noting “small cap companies are about growth.”

NanoViricides was founded in 2005 and its market value has gone from $3 million to $250 million, based on its stock price.

The company seeks to develop nanomaterials that are capable of specific, multi-targeting of viruses.

 

Commercial potential, economic impact

Bill Purcell, Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce president, said many people “are bullish on this company.” He said it offers “true commercial potential that could have a profound impact on our economy.”

Greater Valley Chamber President Bill Purcell at the NanoViricides event.

Greater Valley Chamber President Bill Purcell at the NanoViricides event.

Purcell said the Valley has a long tradition of business innovation, dating to the late 1800s and the many manufacturers located in the region.

Eugene Seymour, a medical doctor who was involved in introducing rapid HIV blood tests, is CEO of NanoViricides Inc.

He recalled Diwan using a pen and napkin to share his ideas for a new company during an initial meeting at a New York City deli a decade ago.

“It’s a very exciting time,” said Seymour, highlighting Connecticut’s role in the field of anti-infectives through the years.

 

The founder’s background

Diwan was born in India, attended the India Institute of Technology, and later studied chemical engineering in the United States. He became associated with UConn and UMass, and worked for a biotechnologies firm.

Anil R. Diwan

Anil R. Diwan

He invented the technologies licensed to NanoViricides as well as the TheraCour (therapeutic courier) polymeric technologies.

Diwan said the reception in Shelton has “been just wonderful.” He described Shelton as a pro-business “oasis” that has been understanding of his need to have an outdoor generator so the building’s “clean room” can be free of any dirt or dust

The building at 1 Controls Drive has been vacant in recent years. It was originally used by OEM Controls and then occupied by a few other companies.

 

 

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