Galenea Corp. Awarded Phase I SBIR To Develop siRNA Products for Prevention and Treatment of Influenza Infection
Cambridge, MA. November 17, 2005 - Galenea Corp. announced today that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), awarded the company a Phase I SBIR to further develop its siRNA technology for the treatment of influenza. Galenea’s lead siRNA product, G00101, has demonstrated efficacy against multiple influenza strains, including avian flu strains (H5N1) in animals. Galenea expects to work closely with the NIH, CDC and FDA to accelerate G00101 development given the urgent need for influenza therapeutics.
G00101 represents a first-in-class approach to fight influenza and is one of the most advanced anti-influenza compounds based on the recently discovered cellular mechanism known as small-interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA). It is administered by inhalation to maximize delivery to the lung epithelium. The product is designed for ease of use by patients and for long-term stability-- essential for stockpiling the product for rapid mobilization during a flu epidemic. G00101 works, in part, by preventing viral replication in the airway epithelium. Galenea has shown that its siRNA sequences provide broad spectrum influenza protection and has reduced potential of drug resistance.
The award, which is much larger than the standard Phase I grant, reflects Galenea’s substantial results to date and will strengthen the Company's effort on product development of siRNA-based antivirals for respiratory viruses. Inhaled administration of siRNA has the potential to be clinically feasible, safe and highly efficacious. Galenea develops siRNA-based, inhaled medicines for the treatment of respiratory diseases with influenza as its first target indication.
"The U.S. government's support of our program emphasizes the importance of new approaches to treat influenza and validates the strong pre-clinical results Galenea has obtained with its proprietary siRNA compounds targeting the virus," said Dr. Kazumi Shiosaki, director of Galenea. She added, "The mounting threat of an influenza pandemic has added urgency to our program. Galenea scientists have been pioneering siRNA technology for influenza for several years now but will accelerate efforts to meet the public health need."
About Small Interfering RNA (siRNA)
Galenea has developed highly effective influenza treatments based on the cutting-edge technology of “small interfering ribonucleic acid” or “siRNA”. Heralded as a major scientific advance, siRNA is a recently discovered mechanism within cells for selectively silencing and regulating specific genes. This approach exploits a naturally occurring cellular defense against viral infection. Simply described, Galenea uses small pieces of RNA that are identical or highly homologous to part of key viral genes to prime the cell to destroy the viral RNA and eliminate the virus. As the virus changes its genetic code to render itself drug resistant, the siRNA code can be changed to overcome resistance.
About Galenea Corp., Ltd.
Galenea Corp. is an emerging biotechnology company dedicated to enhancing and saving lives through the discovery of novel therapies for central nervous system and respiratory diseases.Founded in 2004 based upon technology developed by Drs. Jianzhu Chen, Susumu Tonegawa and David Gerber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dr. Maria Karayiorgou of the Rockefeller University, Galenea is focusing initially on utilizing proprietary technologies to generate calcineurin-related treatments for schizophrenia and siRNA-based, inhaled therapies for the treatment of influenza. Galenea is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.