SRI International Awarded Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Contract to Discover and Develop Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics
SRI International, an independent nonprofit research and development organization, announced today it has been awarded a contract to develop broad-spectrum antibiotics from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), an agency within the United States Department of Defense (DoD). The new three-year, $8.3 million contract will enable preclinical research in developing drugs against a broad range of bioterror agents including anthrax, plague and tularemia.
“We are excited and pleased to be working with DTRA on this new program,” said Dr. Walter H. Moos, vice president of SRI’s Biosciences Division. “This is the second program that SRI has established with DTRA to identify small molecule drugs as countermeasures to combat pathogen threats.”
In 2007, scientists in SRI’s Center for Infectious Disease and Biodefense Research were awarded a $9.5 million contract by DTRA to identify approved drugs effective against biological threats. Under the terms of the new contract award, SRI will optimize and develop compounds from its proprietary bis-indole drug platform for both prophylaxis and treatment of biological warfare agents. The bis-indole platform is based on synthetically optimized dietary natural products that have been shown to be effective as treatments in multiple disease indications. The discovery of the bis-indole drug platform was originally made by Ling Jong, Ph.D., medicinal chemistry program director in SRI’s Cancer Research Center. Dr. Jong’s research is focused on the development of drugs that are highly effective in treating cancer with very few minor side effects.
“We have generated a new class of drugs based on compounds found in cruciferous vegetables that have excellent safety profiles,” said Dr. Ling Jong. “We have already demonstrated the value of the platform in oncology, and this DTRA award now validates the potential of the platform in infectious disease.”
The bis-indole platform has proven to be a rich source of agents for the treatment of cancer. The lead compound in the platform, SR13668, an Akt pathway inhibitor, will soon advance to human clinical trials for cancer prevention through collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI). A second compound from the platform, SR13654, is a survivin pathway inhibitor currently in preclinical development.
Through drug screening, SRI has identified new bis-indole analogues that have broad-spectrum antibiotic activity. Drug leads from this platform with activity against biodefense pathogens have also been shown by SRI to be effective against methacillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and penicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pneumoniae (PRSP), which are of interest in the commercial pharmaceutical market for resistant hospital-acquired infections.
About SRI International’s Center for Infectious Disease and Biodefense Research
SRI’s Center for Infectious Disease and Biodefense Research is dedicated to benefiting humankind by creating new technologies for defeating the world’s most significant infectious disease threats. The Center employs state-of-the-art tools and broadly applicable approaches to increase our understanding of infectious disease mechanisms, identify and validate new molecular targets for disease intervention, and develop small molecule and protein-based therapeutics as well as vaccines.
With decades of experience in anti-infective research, SRI is uniquely positioned to discover and develop drugs of the future to treat bacterial and viral infections. SRI’s research successes in anti-infectives include halofantrine, which is a marketed drug used to treat malaria, and vidarabine, which is an antiviral drug that blocks the spread of herpes simplex virus. The Center has ongoing programs in the discovery and development of broad-spectrum antibiotics, new antiviral agents, and treatments for diseases common in developing nations such as tuberculosis. Center researchers are also developing countermeasures for bioterrorism pathogens.
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 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