September 4, 2008

Integral Molecular Initiates NIH-Funded Program for Influenza Drug Discovery

US-based biotechnology company Integral Molecular has initiated a federally-funded program to discover new drugs to combat influenza infection.

Sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Integral Molecular's R&D program will utilize its proprietary Lipoparticle technology to discover new ways of inhibiting M2, a critical viral ion channel. The M2 ion channel is said to be a validated drug target for all strains of influenza, including the H5N1 pandemic strains.

Integral Molecular's Lipoparticles are said to enable ion channels such as M2, and other membrane proteins, to be selectively captured and concentrated. Integral Molecular currently offers Lipoparticles engineered to contain user-specified membrane proteins for a variety of applications including high throughput screening, binding assays, and biosensor assays.

The federal grant continues a previous R01 funding award by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop Lipoparticle technology for use with viral ion channels.

Benjamin Doranz, president and chief scientific officer of Integral Molecular, said: "Lipoparticles have been well-validated for studying cell surface proteins such as GPCRs and ion channels. We are very excited to now have this opportunity to use the technology for discovering new drugs against this important virus."