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SOURCE Sirenas Marine Discovery
SAN DIEGO, Feb. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Sirenas Marine Discovery (SMD), an innovative drug discovery and early stage development company based in San Diego, announces today that it has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant totaling $291,941 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), to further develop a breakthrough HIV small molecule therapeutic.
"We are excited and honored by this Phase I grant, as it points to the ability for SMD to translate the exquisite chemical diversity of marine natural products into potentially meaningful therapeutics in infectious disease," stated Jake Beverage, SMD co-founder and chief operating officer. The initial discovery that a complex, marine-derived compound has the capacity to prevent the re-emergence of the HIV virus in infected cells was born from a collaboration between Dr. Susana Valente from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in Florida and SMD co-founder Dr. Phil Baran from TSRI in San Diego, recipient of the 2013 MacArthur Fellowship. The SMD team has expanded upon these initial findings in developing a potentially novel therapeutic approach to the treatment of "latent" HIV infection, a term describing the persistence of HIV infection throughout the body despite lifelong treatment on current anti-retroviral therapy. The SBIR funding will provide the resources to further characterize and develop this important early stage program in HIV latency. The project will be eligible for Phase II funding, providing a path forward for what might be an incredibly valuable and differentiated tool in the ongoing global battle with HIV. SMD co-founder Phil Baran adds, "In the proverbial marathon of drug discovery, this grant is an essential dose of Gatorade that will enable us to meet critical milestones en route to the clinic."
Sirenas Marine Discovery's mission is to sustainably discover and catalogue the untapped chemical diversity of the ocean and, with the aid of cutting edge informatics tools and world-class synthetic chemistry, to efficiently generate viable discoveries that address unmet needs in cancer, infectious and rare diseases. The young company was a Voted a San Diego top 30 "Cool Company" by the San Diego Venture Group in 2013.
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