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08/10/10 - Kalamazoo-based NanoVir receives $3 million NIH grant

August 10, 2010
Scientists at Kalamazoo-based NanoVir have received a $3 million, three-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for their research on new antiviral drugs candidates.  The candidate drugs are “broad spectrum,” designed to fight multiple strains of high-risk human papillomaviruses, or HPVs, the viral cause of essentially all cervical cancer. The grant is entitled "Preclinical Development of Broad Spectrum Antiviral Compounds to Treat Human Papillomavirus (HPV)."

HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer, and is also the most prevalent sexually-transmitted virus in the world.  Cervical cancer is second only to breast cancer among lethal cancers that affects women worldwide.  Each year, nearly 11,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the U.S. alone.

The Principal Investigator on the grant is Chris Fisher of NanoVir, while the lead chemist on the project is James Bashkin, co-founder of NanoVir and Research Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  The $3 million award means that NanoVir has raised over $9.5 million in grants since 2004 when it first started at the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center.

“Some years were lean and difficult to survive as a company, but we have always kept our focus on advancing our lead compounds through pre-clinical studies and into the clinic.  In the current climate of diminishing venture capital, our ability to raise money through grants from the NIH has been critical to our ability to survive and flourish.  These grants are highly competitive, with the major criteria for funding being the significance of the science, its potential impact on human health and the quality of the research team – all areas in which we excel,” said Chris Fisher, Director of Biology.