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SRI International Begins NIAID-Funded Drug Evaluation Program for Tuberculosis

September 15, 2008

SRI International, an independent nonprofit research and development organization, today announced the initiation of a tuberculosis (TB) preclinical drug evaluation program in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The new program is part of the $56.9 million contract NIAID first awarded to SRI in 2006 to provide preclinical services for the development of drugs and antibodies as anti-infective therapeutics.

Among other preclinical TB drug development resources SRI also has the capability to test up to 30,000 compounds per year against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) strains. Preclinical drug candidates will be provided by TB researchers via a Non-Clinical Evaluation Agreement with the NIAID. The findings will be used to guide the development of new medicines against Mtb, including multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains prevalent in many parts of the world. NIAID, by way of its portfolio of drug development contracts, will assist investigators in moving promising compounds through preclinical evaluations, including efficacy testing in animal models, pharmacokinetic analysis and toxicology studies.

“Innovative approaches to TB treatment are needed now, as new TB cases increase and Mtb bacteria become increasingly drug-resistant,” said Kristien Mortelmans, Ph.D., Director of the Microbiology Program within SRI’s Biosciences Division and Program Leader. “This project and our partnership with NIAID will help us find new cures to save lives and further SRI’s mission to help solve important global health problems.”

TB, a contagious infectious bacterial disease, is a global health threat. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one third of the world’s population has been infected by the TB bacterium. In 2005, TB caused 1.6 million deaths. Strains that are resistant to a single drug are found in every country surveyed by the WHO, and strains resistant to all major anti-TB drugs continue to emerge, including extensively drug resistant TB (XDR-TB) that now exists in 49 countries.

As part of SRI’s strategic expansion of its TB research program, Dr. Sidharth Chopra recently joined SRI’s Microbiology Program, having recently completed a Fellowship at Stanford University, conducting research on antitubercular drug discovery. Dr. Chopra will help accelerate SRI’s antitubercular research program.

Under the 2006 contract, Services for the Preclinical Development of Therapeutic Agents, SRI has been funded to provide five years of support for the preclinical development of treatments for TB and other infectious diseases such as avian flu, SARS, West Nile virus, hepatitis and biodefense pathogens and toxins. SRI has the capability to perform medicinal chemistry, custom drug synthesis, formulation, analytical chemistry, clinical manufacturing, microbiology and virology screening, pharmacokinetics, and safety testing.

More information on the Services for Preclinical Development of Therapeutic Agents resource and how to access can be found at http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/research/resources/dmid/pretheraagents/. To access the TB drug screening program, contact Dr. Robert Goldman, Program Officer, Respiratory Diseases Branch/DMID/NIAID (rgoldman@niaid.nih.gov).

About SRI International

Silicon Valley-based SRI International (www.sri.com) is one of the world’s leading independent research and technology development organizations. SRI, which was founded by Stanford University as Stanford Research Institute in 1946 and became independent in 1970, has been meeting the strategic needs of clients and partners for more than 60 years. Perhaps best known for its invention of the computer mouse and interactive computing, SRI has also been responsible for major advances in networking and communications, robotics, drug discovery and development, advanced materials, atmospheric research, education research, economic development, national security, and more. The nonprofit institute performs client-sponsored research and development for government agencies, businesses, and foundations. SRI also licenses its technologies, forms strategic alliances, and creates spin-off companies. In 2007, SRI’s consolidated revenues, including its wholly owned for-profit subsidiary, Sarnoff Corporation, were approximately $450 million.

 Media Contact: Lindsay Sheppard SRI International (650) 859-2491 Email Contact

SOURCE: SRI International




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