Monday, October 17, 2011

NIH awards $150 million to bioterror defenses

The NIH will be awarding up to $150 million over 5 years to four companies who are developing drug treatments that could be effective against bioterrorist attacks.

United Therapeutics is working on a broad-spectrum drug called UV-4 for dengue and the flu, which might also combat the issue of drug resistance.

The drug company CUBRC is developing a tetracycline that could treat community-acquired pneumonia and other respiratory diseases. There are also plans on testing this drug against Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis, which cause anthrax and the plague, respectively, and are bioterror possibilities.

Entana Pharmaceuticals is working on broad-spectrum antibiotics called bicyclolides. These are effective against both gram positive and gram negative strains of bacteria, and have shown promise against anthrax, plague, and tularemia.

XOMA LLC (from Berkeley!) is contracted to develop an intravenous botulism poisoning treatment.

--Sarah Kaewert

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