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06/02/08 - NanoVir, LLC Receives $3M Preclinical Development NIAID Grant

June 2, 2008
KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), an institute within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded a nearly $3 million small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) grant to NanoVir, LLC to support synthesis and pre-clinical development of lead antiviral compounds for treatment of human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16).

The grant to NanoVir, which spans three years, will support work at several collaborating institutions including NanoVir, the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Stanford Research Institute-International.

HPV16 is by far the major cause of cervical dysplasia and cancer.  Currently, no effective treatment for the virus is available or anticipated.  Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization typically refer to "follow up" observation and surgical intervention as the only options available for women infected by HPV16.  Their reports rarely even suggest that antivirals might soon provide hope for treatment.

The STTR grant from the NIAID will support preclinical development of antiviral compounds, discovered and designed by NanoVir scientists, which possess excellent potency for treatment of HPV16 in human cell culture.  These compounds, which target the HPV origin of replication (ori), a DNA regulatory region within the HPV genome, were designed, synthesized and tested with the support of a previous NIAID-AT-STTR Phase 1 grant awarded to NanoVir by the NIAID.  They hold considerable potential as antiviral agents that have the potential to add an important tool to complement the HPV vaccines and allow both HPV+ and HPV- patients to be treated.

“This Phase 2 award will allow us to initiate the chemical scale-up and safety studies required by the Food and Drug Administration before clinical trials can be initiated.  We're honored to have been awarded this grant, especially at a time when the peer-review and competition for such awards is so stringent,” said Chris Fisher, co-founder and Director of Biology of NanoVir.  “This is a significant validation of our approach and I believe that, as long as we hit our milestones, we will soon be in a position to enter clinical trials in HPV-positive women."

NanoVir, LLC is a Michigan-based company whose headquarters are located at the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  NanoVir is working on prevention of cervical cancer by developing antiviral agents for HPV, the cause of the vast majority of cervical cancer.  The company is funded by the National Institutes of Health, under the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

About NanoVir, LLC
NanoVir, LLC is a drug discovery company dedicated to finding treatments for HPV, a primary cause of both abnormal pap smears and cervical cancer.  NanoVir focuses on studying DNA-targeted therapies aimed to treat high-risk HPV infection before it can progress to cancer.  NanoVir’s Kalamazoo site at the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center of Western Michigan University conducts cell-biology and virology studies, while its colleagues at the University of Missouri-St. Louis site carry out the related chemistry. The firm is currently concentrating on a topical treatment that could eliminate HPV infections.

About the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center
The Southwest Michigan Innovation Center is a 58,000-square-foot incubator/accelerator that provides wet-lab space, access to venture funding and comprehensive business support services to emerging companies in the life science industry. The Innovation Center is a state-of-the-art facility designed and staffed with high-tech scientific companies in mind.  For more information, visit www.kazoosmic.com.