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CalAsia and Georgetown University Entered into a Collaboration on Developing Dengue Inhibitors

2/2/2012 2:05:40 PM

CalAsia Pharmaceuticals and Radhakrishnan Padmanabhan, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology at Georgetown University Medical Center, announce a collaboration to develop inhibitors of dengue and West Nile virus proteases with the goal of finding new treatments.

“We are excited about this opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Padmanabhan, who has been doing basic and translational research in the dengue virus field since 1982 and has made seminal discoveries,” said CalAsia’s Dr. G. Sridhar Prasad Vice President of Research.

“His expertise combined with the drug discovery strengths of CalAsia will significantly increase the prospectus of finding novel drug molecules to fight infections caused by these two pathogens.”

This collaboration further emphasizes the mission of CalAsia that it is “to accelerate seminal academic discoveries into safe and effective treatments for both unmet and under-served medical needs,” Prasad added.

The frequency and severity of dengue diseases have increased dramatically in recent years in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. There are currently no approved vaccines or antiviral drugs available for humans for prevention or treatment of dengue diseases, said Professor Padmanabhan.

About dengue and West Nile virus:

Dengue viruses (types 1-4), members of Flaviviridae, are transmitted by mosquito vectors, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. They are recognized as the causative agents of diseases such as dengue fever, a simple self-limiting disease, to more severe forms, dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome, affecting approximately 50 to 100 million people annually worldwide with thousands of fatalities. Over 40% of the world population is at risk for dengue viral infections, and currently there is no effective vaccine or antiviral drug available. Moreover, infections caused by another member of the mosquito-borne Flaviviridae, West Nile virus, have caused several thousand infections in birds and humans since the initial 1999 outbreak in the United States.

About CalAsia's Drug-discovery:

CalAsia Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is an employee owned early stage pharmaceutical company focused on the rapid discovery of drug-like small molecules by utilizing its core technologies. In detail, CalAsia core technologies combine functional fragment screening with X-ray crystallography co-crystallization to rationally design and synthesize New Chemical Entities (NCEs) with drug-like properties. By differential fragment screening of closely related isotypes, CalAsia also develops selective NCEs early in the drug discovery process thereby increasing the quality of potential drug candidates. Currently, CalAsia has 6 internal drug-discovery programs for the treatment unmet medical needs for Parkinson Disease, Type II Diabetes, Inflammation, Prostate Cancer and Malaria. Of note, CalAsia team has decades of drug-discovery experience and has been involved in numerous drug-discovery programs that have resulted in multiple clinical candidates as well as one marketed drug.

About CalAsia's Services:

The CalAsia team provides its expertise; which includes cloning, recombinant protein expression (E. coli, Baculovirus & Yeast), recombinant protein purification, biochemical assays, cellular assays, fragment screening, and X-ray crystallography co-crystallization; to the drug discovery community through contract research.

About Georgetown University Medical Center

Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis -- or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical Translation and Science Award from the National Institutes of Health. In fiscal year 2010-11, GUMC accounted for 85 percent of the university’s sponsored research funding.

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