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Hawaii Company Supports DoD Mission to Protect Forces Against Bioweapons.

PanThera Biopharma Awarded $1.6M Department of Defense Contract to Continue Efforts Toward a Botulism Therapeutic

HONOLULU -- PanThera Biopharma announced today the award of a $1.6 M contract from the Department of Defense to advance the company's research activities towards development of a small molecule antidote to treat botulism, which is a worldwide threat as the US fights the War on Terrorism. The one-year, $1.6M contract with the U.S. Army's Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center will enable PanThera to refine its proprietary drug discovery platform and accelerate the process for selecting preclinical drug candidates. Medical countermeasures against botulism are biodefense priorities for protecting both military and civilian populations against bioterrorism. PanThera's small molecule antitoxins are designed to provide the improved manufacturability and stability needed to serve as a practical solution for acquisition into strategic stockpiles. Current biological products based on antibodies are available in limited supply, require cold storage and are very expensive. PanThera's objective is to create a medical solution that is affordable, easy to use and store for stockpile for today's warfighters and citizens.

"Protecting our nation from terrorist attacks is of utmost importance to me. This endeavor, developed and perfected in Hawaii, will be part of a layered approach to prepare our nation for combating biological warfare," stated U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye. "We can never be idle when it comes to investing in advanced research that will save lives and deter terrorism."

"This contract award positions PanThera to continue its cutting-edge research toward development of lead compounds that show promise of becoming viable drug candidates for the Military and Strategic National Stockpile," said Will Alameida, President and CEO of PanThera. "Our objective is to develop drugs that do not require refrigeration and can be administered safely and rapidly if needed to protect our nation and our allies."

Alameida said PanThera is targeting Military acquisition programs and the BioShield Program's Strategic National Stockpile for its therapeutic. The $5.6 billion BioShield Program, enacted in July 2004, was designed to speed the development of drugs and vaccines to counter the effects of biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological agents.

According to the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, botulism is a serious paralytic illness caused by neurotoxins produced by several Clostridium botulinum bacterial strains. Exposure to botulinum toxins can lead to death due to respiratory failure unless ventilation is assisted mechanically; therefore, rapid diagnosis and access to intensive medical care and antitoxin are vitally important.

Botulinum toxin is classified as a CDC Category A bioterrorism agent, and several countries and terrorist organizations are known to have developed botulinum weapons. Botulinum toxin could be used to poison foodstuffs or released as an aerosolized weapon.

The contract extends work initiated under an earlier DoD contract and continued with follow on support provided by the NIH SBIR program and private investment from PanThera's parent company, Science & Technology International, Inc.

About PanThera Biopharma

PanThera Biopharma (PanThera), was established in 2006 as a subsidiary of Science & Technology International, Inc. (STI), with a mission focused on addressing the urgent need for new drugs to combat emerging infectious diseases and to defend against potential bioterrorism agents. PanThera, a leader in the biodefense market, is developing orally available drugs for Anthrax, Botulinum, Dengue fever, as well as a continuing pipeline of therapeutic drugs for other infectious diseases and pandemic threats. STI is a premiere Life Sciences Accelerator with strategic interests in medical diagnostic imaging and biotechnology.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1U9HI
Date:Oct 15, 2009
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