Salt Lake City, UT, March 24, 2015 --(PR.com
)-- Navigen, Inc. has received an award notice for its NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant application entitled “Protease-resistant D-peptide Inhibitors of Ebola Virus Entry.” Navigen was awarded $2,894,941 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to fund work over three years to advance its anti-Ebola virus D-peptide. This novel, synthetic, protease-resistant D-peptide targets a functionally critical and exposed region of the virus that is 100% identical across all known Ebola strains and prevents Ebola entry into target cells. The company expects that its candidate will be useful in both preventing Ebola infection and treating infected patients.
Dr. Michael Kay, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Utah School of Medicine and one of the technology’s inventors said, “Navigen’s D-peptide targets a region of the Ebola virus that is identical across all Ebola strains. This property would allow stockpiling of a single agent for all Ebola outbreaks and treatment without waiting for strain identification. Additionally, the D-peptide target is >95% conserved across all filoviruses, opening the possibility that this class of inhibitors will also be effective against the closely related Marburg virus."
Navigen licensed the rights to the D-Peptide technology developed in Kay’s lab at the University of Utah. The company expects that the Phase 2 SBIR award will fund work through definitive animal efficacy studies.
About Ebola Virus
There are no approved agents to prevent or treat Ebola infection beyond supportive care. Ebola infection is highly lethal with an average case fatality rate of around 50%. However, case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
Navigen develops promising early-stage pharmaceutical technologies though early clinical trials. The company takes a portfolio approach to drug development, developing multiple technologies simultaneously in order to maximize operating efficiencies and help ensure sustainable corporate success. Navigen has development programs in cancer, psychiatric and infectious diseases, and inflammatory disorders (e.g., macular degeneration, acute respiratory distress syndrome). To date, Navigen has raised over $28 MM in non-dilutive funds via NIH grants, corporate collaborations, licenses, and government contracts.