PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- AUM LifeTech, Inc., a Philadelphia based preclinical stage biotechnology company, has received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for their preclinical program on HIV. The grant in the amount of US$600,000 is funded under Award Number R43AI152774.
"During these unique and challenging times, we are very fortunate to be selected for funding from the NIH to further advance our infectious disease preclinical program on HIV. I am thankful to my collaborators and team members for all their support over the past several years. This grant will allow us to conduct some key IND enabling studies and further strengthen our position in the field of Nucleic Acid Therapeutics," said Veenu Aishwarya, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AUM LifeTech, Inc. "Additionally, considering our continued success using our self-delivering RNA targeting technology we will commit additional resources towards COVID-19 research and therapeutic development."
AUM LifeTech has identified potent lead candidates that can effectively neutralize HIV by using their FANA ASO technology that can effectively target RNA of HIV thereby prevent replication of the virus. The company plans to further evaluate the lead compounds for the next stages of therapy development. This approach can also be used to target other RNA viruses like coronavirus, such as SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.
"This NIH funding is critical since it provides us the opportunity to extend our studies in humanized mice model of HIV. We are very excited and look forward to advancing our preclinical development to combat HIV," said AUM LifeTech's Scientific Advisory Board member, Dr. John Rossi who is a distinguished infectious disease scientist working on development of RNA targeting therapies for HIV and his expertise is globally recognized. Dr. Rossi is the Lidow Family Research Chair and Morgan and Helen Chu Dean's Chair of the Irell and Manella Graduate School at Beckman Research Institute at City of Hope in California and is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Beckman Research Institute. "Considering the current pandemic, I strongly believe that AUM LifeTech's RNA targeting approach can readily be applied for rapid identification of targets and lead compounds to develop antiviral therapy for other infectious diseases such as COVID-19."
Dr. Masad Damha is a Distinguished James McGill Professor of Chemistry at McGill University and also a Scientific Advisory Board member of AUM LifeTech. Working in the field of bio-organic and bio-medical nucleic acid chemistry, his research advances the materialization of new therapeutic drugs based on protein and RNA targeting. Dr. Damha is globally recognized for the development of various next-generation nucleic acids chemistries. His acclaimed FANA technology is being applied by AUM LifeTech for development of therapeutics for several genetically defined diseases including cancer and infectious diseases. "I am very happy to see this progress by AUM LifeTech on preclinical development on HIV. I look forward to working with AUM LifeTech to further co-develop innovative RNA silencing technologies that can further advance therapeutic development towards infectious diseases," said Dr. Damha.
AUM LifeTech launched at the University City Science Center in 2013 and is now located at Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) in Philadelphia. CIC together with the Science Center are part of the dynamic uCity Square community. CIC provides state-of-the-art office and lab coworking space to support founders and entrepreneurial teams in solving the world's problems through innovation and collaboration.
"AUM LifeTech is doing very important work to develop therapies for infectious diseases. We're happy to provide all the necessary support and infrastructure for emerging and growing biotechnology companies like AUM LifeTech to advance their therapeutic programs," said Sally Guzik, General Manager, CIC Philadelphia. Sally Guzik is also a member of the CIC leadership team.
About AUM LifeTech, Inc.: AUM LifeTech, founded in 2013, is an American biotechnology company focused on development of Nucleic acid therapeutics. The company use self-delivering RNA silencing FANA ASO technology to develop solutions in diverse life science verticals including biomedical research, medicine, agriculture, and aquaculture. Specifically, AUM's products include the next generation of innovative genetic tools in the area of gene silencing and manipulation for biomedical research and therapeutic development. RNA silencing products using FANA ASO technology provides a fast track approach for target discovery, validation, and drug development. AUM's goal is to provide innovation at the genetic level for a better life.