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SRI International wins $49m NIH contract to study new HIV, AIDS therapies

By Zachary Brennan+

29-Jul-2014
Last updated on 29-Jul-2014 at 16:19 GMT

More than 35m people are infected with HIV worldwide and despite major advances in therapeutics, more effective and less toxic drugs and preventive interventions are still needed
More than 35m people are infected with HIV worldwide and despite major advances in therapeutics, more effective and less toxic drugs and preventive interventions are still needed

SRI International was awarded a seven-year, $49m contract from the NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), which is a division of the NIH (National Institutes of Health), for preclinical HIV/AIDS work.

Under the contract, SRI will conduct preclinical development of potential therapies for HIV infection and AIDS. In addition to the treatment of HIV and AIDS, the contract supports the development of drugs for the treatment of complications and opportunistic infections associated with the disease, as well as microbicides for preventing sexual transmission of HIV.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 35m people are infected with HIV worldwide. Despite major advances in therapeutics, more effective and less toxic drugs and preventive interventions are still needed, SRI says.

The contract will help support SRI Biosciences scientists to assess the pharmacology and toxicology of potential therapeutic agents and microbicides, and to develop, manufacture and analyze preclinical and clinical dosage formulations. These services will help investigators, small companies and NIH staff obtain the data and products needed to acquire additional funding, gain prospective partnerships, fulfill regulatory requirements and complete studies before entering clinical trials.

SRI Biosciences has been supporting NIAID since 1991 in the development of new therapeutics for HIV/AIDS,” said Jon Mirsalis, managing director of SRI Biosciences and co-principal investigator for the program. “We are honored to receive this award to continue this vitally important work.” 

The contract renews three existing contracts held by SRI, and rolls them into a single contract. One of the contracts, initiated 23 years ago, has supported safety testing of more than 200 drugs and therapeutic vaccines at various stages of development. An additional contract first won by SRI in 2000 supports formulation development and clinical manufacturing of drugs for treatment of HIV. A third pharmaceutical resource contract supports analytical chemistry evaluation studies and was awarded to SRI in 2007.

We look forward to making additional contributions to translating drug discoveries to the clinic,” said Helen Parish, executive director of the pharmaceutical development section in SRI Biosciences.

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