MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

NIAID awards 3 contracts for drug studies

NIAID funds three investigational drug studies

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a branch within the National Institutes of Health, said Wednesday that it has raised the number of contracts that support early-stage human clinical trials of new investigational drugs.

NIAID awarded the contracts to Clinical Research Management, based in Hinckley, Ohio; DynPort Vaccine Co., in Frederick, Maryland; and Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

All three of the contracts, part of NIAID’s Phase I Clinical Trial Units for Therapeutics program, fund new investigational drugs currently in their early-stage human clinical trials. The trials will determine the safety of the infectious disease treatments.

Each of the awarded organizations may receive up to $90 million for each contract over the next 10 years. The funding from NIAID is enough to support 12 clinical trials for each of the three organizations each year.

The Phase I Clinical Trial Units for Therapeutics program began in 2008. The program determines the safety of the new drug candidates that potentially treat a wide range of both emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. These diseases may be caused by bacterial, fungus, parasites, or viruses (other than HIV).

Some trials conducted within the program include new influenza antivirals, multidrug resistant tuberculosis and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

One of the earlier awards from the program funded the early clinical trials for a fusion protein antiviral drug. The drug prevents multiple flu strains from spreading. One of the strains is the fatal H5N1, also known as avian influenza. The drug is now in Phase II trials.

“A significant challenge in drug development is moving promising agents for treating infectious diseases into initial testing in humans to evaluate their safety,” NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci said. “These new contracts expand our ability to identify and accelerate the development of promising therapeutics to combat existing and potential microbial threats to public health.”

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