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Shrewsbury, MA, United States, 2012/01/10 - SignaBlok, Inc., a Massachusetts-based biopharmaceutical startup, has been awarded a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to introduce company’s new approach to the prevention and treatment of sepsis (blood poisoning).
SignaBlok, Inc. today announced that it has been awarded a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to establish in vivo proof of concept for Company's novel strategy to fight sepsis (blood poisoning), a serious medical condition characterized by a whole-body inflammatory state that often leads to death.
SignaBlok’s approach targets an inflammation amplifier, a specific receptor called TREM-1, inhibition of which is known to dramatically improve survival in animal models of sepsis. Company’s proprietary peptide inhibitors that are developed using a new model of cell signaling, known as the SCHOOL model, inhibit TREM-1 in a novel, ligand-independent way and possess unique and beneficial properties.
The award will support formulation development and in vivo proof-of-concept studies to evaluate the efficacy of TREM-1-specific SCHOOL peptides in either the free or nanoparticulate form. The latter was developed using SignaBlok’s proprietary nanosystem for targeted delivery of drugs and imaging agents. The most promising formulations will be selected for IND-enabling toxicology studies leading into clinical development with the eventual goal of protecting against septic shock and improving survival in sepsis.
“DARPA's support for the use of SCHOOL peptides in preventing and treating sepsis, as evidenced by this contract, is a critical recognition of our innovative approach to this disease,” stated Alexander Sigalov, Ph.D., President, Inventor and Founder of SignaBlok.
“Recent discoveries provide evidence that TREM-1 plays an important role in the pathogenesis of not only sepsis but also cancer and other inflammation-associated conditions such as radiation-induced multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. Thus, the DARPA funding creates a tremendous opportunity for SignaBlok to expand its portfolio of innovative technologies and establish in vivo proof of concept for these disorders, including various cancer types such as lung, breast and pancreatic cancers,” said Alexander Sigalov.
SignaBlok is developing a new class of therapies – SCHOOL peptides, the innovative modulatory peptides that can be rationally designed for nearly any cell surface receptor and have broad potential to treat and prevent a wide range of serious diseases with unmet clinical needs. SignaBlok’s is also developing a nanotechnology that enables targeted delivery of SCHOOL peptides and other therapies and/or imaging agents, aiming to improve efficacy and reduce dose. Additional information about SignaBlok is available at signablok.com.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is a component of the United States Department of Defense, focused on sponsoring revolutionary, high-payoff research bridging the gap between fundamental discoveries and their military and civilian use.