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VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS RECEIVES NIH GRANT FOR HIV RESEARCH

 VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS RECEIVES NIH GRANT FOR HIV RESEARCH
 CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: VRTX) announced today that it has received a $50,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop an advanced assay for identifying compounds that inhibit HIV protease. HIV protease is a viral enzyme that is a promising therapeutic target for drugs to treat HIV infection and AIDS.
 "The proposed assay will be used in our program to design and develop HIV protease inhibitors by providing a safe and reproducible method for identifying potential anti-AIDS compounds," said Dr. Joshua Boger, president of Vertex. "Unlike current tests, the planned assay does not involve the use of infectious HIV material, and we will therefore be able to use it in a conventional laboratory setting."
 The planned assay uses human T cells that are engineered to produce two proteins, HIV protease and a second protein. In the assay, protease inhibition would be easily measured by monitoring the activity of the second protein. The project will be directed by Vertex's Dr. Michael S. Su.
 Vertex is a leader in the use of structure-based rational drug design, a scientific approach to drug discovery which uses atomic level information to design synthetic compounds that interact with protein targets involved in disease processes. Vertex is using advanced techniques of biology, chemistry and biophysics to create novel, small molecule compounds that the company plans to develop as orally deliverable drugs to treat major human diseases. Vertex is concentrating on the development of drugs in the areas of immunology, inflammation and antiviral therapy.
 -0- 5/6/92
 /CONTACT: Richard H. Aldrich, vice president of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, 617-576-3111; or Robert Gottlieb of Feinstein Partners Inc., 617-577-8110, for Vertex Pharmaceuticals/
 (VRTX) CO: Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated ST: Massachusetts IN: MTC SU:


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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 7, 1992
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