In September, Advanced Targeting Systems received two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards from the National Institutes of Health. The first is a Phase II grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This project continues a collaboration with Drs. Joanne Berger-Sweeney (Wellesley College) and Mark Baxter (Harvard University) to further develop the mouse p75 immunotoxin. More than three-quarters of a million dollars will be invested in characterizing this lesioning agent for use in modeling and studying neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Part of the project will include use of the immunotoxin in a transgenic mouse model of AD.
The second award issued to ATS is a Phase I grant from the National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research. This $134,000 award will support research to develop an expression system using Substance P as the targeting agent. The purpose of this six-month study is to demonstrate that an expression plasmid can be introduced into Substance P receptor-bearing neurons and that the protein can be observed. If this is successful, then other expression systems will be tested for delivery of bioactive molecules that could diminish the transmission of the chronic pain signal.
Dr. Patrick Mantyh (University of Minnesota) is collaborating with ATS on this project. His laboratory will be testing the system on spinal cord neurons. Dr. Mantyh has been an important collaborator in the development of Substance P-Saporin (SP- SAP), a targeted toxin currently being tested in toxicology/safety studies as a possible therapeutic for chronic pain.
Since it’s first SBIR grant was funded in 1994, ATS has received nearly three million dollars in support for research to develop innovative new products. The SBIR program is a valuable resource for small companies to be able to expand and enhance their in-house R&D efforts. ATS appreciates the ability to collaborate with some of the finest academic institutions and their scientists to meet the goals of these SBIR projects and meet the needs of research scientists throughout the world.