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Optimer Pharmaceuticals Receives US$1.9 Million in SBIR Awards.

SAN DIEGO -- Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company, was awarded two grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH-NIAID) in 2005. The first is a one-year Small Business Innovation Research-Advanced Technology (SBIR-AT) grant of $734,965, which will be used in the development of the Company's lead clinical drug candidate, OPT-80. OPT-80, which is being evaluated as a treatment for Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD), is currently in Phase 2 clinical studies. OPT-80 has received fast-track designation from the FDA and is participating in the agency's Continuous Marketing Application (CMA) Pilot 2 program. CDAD, a severe form of antibiotic-associated diarrhea caused by the bacterium, Clostridium difficile, is a growing problem worldwide. In recent years, outbreaks of a hypervirulent clostridial strain with an elevated mortality rate have been reported worldwide.

The second award received is a two-year Phase 2 SBIR grant totaling $1,191,248, which will support further development of novel semi-synthetic macrolides and ketolides as potential anti-microbial agents that may be active against resistant bacteria. Antimicrobial resistance is a serious worldwide health problem in both hospital and community settings. Under this grant, Optimer will develop clinical candidates using its proprietary chemistry technologies.

"SBIR is a highly competitive program that stimulates and supports small businesses like ours," said Michael N. Chang, Ph.D., President of Optimer. "We are very excited to receive these NIAID grants and consider them a validation of our research and development efforts in the anti-infection arena."

In addition to its infectious disease programs, the Company receives funding from Philip Morris, USA, Inc. for the development of novel carbohydrate-based cancer vaccines. Philip Morris is sponsoring a three-year cancer vaccine research program (2004-2006) at Optimer. Optimer also collaborates with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in this area of research.

Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in San Diego, California (www.optimerpharma.com), is an emerging biopharmaceutical company with a number of late stage anti-infective drugs in its pipeline, which target the treatment of life-threatening bacterial infections. The Company also specializes in using its proprietary synthetic glycol-chemistry technology for drug discovery.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Oct 17, 2005
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