RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Biotechnology company Icoria, Inc. today announced that it had received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Institutes of Health, worth close to $800,000. The Phase II contract supports the application of metabolomics and gene expression analysis in the study of alcohol-related diseases, including liver and brain injury, in a study program entitled, "Metabolomics: Alcohol Induced Toxicity."
The contract is the second Phase II SBIR contract Icoria has been awarded this year. The company previously announced the receipt of a separate $1.2 million SBIR contract in a Current Report on Form 8-K and press release issued August 29, 2005.
"Together, the two Phase II SBIR contracts help to support our biomarker discovery efforts on a broad set of liver pathologies that span a variety of mechanisms," said Thomas Colatsky, Ph.D., Icoria's Chief Scientific Officer. "By using metabolomics and gene expression to analyze different forms of liver toxicity, we hope to identify new biomarkers for liver disease that should have utility in the development of highly-informative, minimally invasive diagnostics covering acute as well as more chronic liver-related diseases, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease."
In June 2004, Icoria announced Phase I of this contract, which was undertaken in collaboration with the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Medicine. In Phase I, Icoria used metabolomics to identify key biochemicals in the liver, brain and plasma that correlated with changes in tissue pathology. Phase I of the contract was completed in March of this year. After reviewing the results, the NIAAA approved Phase II of the contract. Phase II will extend the Phase I findings to include gene expression analysis in liver, brain and whole blood. Icoria will probe this rich and expanded data set to identify biomarkers of liver and brain toxicity and to explore mechanisms involved in both alcohol dependence and withdrawal.
Phase II Funding
The NIAAA SBIR Phase II Contract is worth $786,250 over a two-year period. This project is funded in whole with Federal funds from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHSN281200510008C. The Phase I contract was worth $99,966 and was funded by Contract No. HHSN281200410004C. Icoria estimates that the Federal funds allocated under these contracts will support up to roughly seventy-five percent of its "Metabolomics: Alcohol Induced Toxicity" research program. At present, Icoria plans to support roughly twenty-five percent of the total costs-an estimated $263,000-with funds from non-governmental sources.
On September 19, 2005, Icoria executed a merger agreement with Clinical Data Inc. whereby Clinical Data will acquire Icoria in an all- stock transaction valued at up to $12.5 million. The acquisition is expected to close late this year or in early 2006, pending approval by Icoria's shareholders. More information on this transaction is available at http://www.icoria.com. More information on Clinical Data is available at http://www.clda.com.
Icoria, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on the discovery of novel, multi-parameter biomarkers using its unique multi-platform approach. Icoria intends to use these future biomarkers internally to develop multi-analyte diagnostics to define and grade pathology or disease state with a high level of specificity and sensitivity, and use its technology to help collaborators and customers develop better, safer drugs and diagnostics and to identify targets, leads and drug/diagnostic combinations for liver injury, metabolic disorders and cancer. Icoria's shares trade on the over the counter bulletin board.
This press release contains forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, Icoria's acquisition by Clinical Data, Inc., the Company's expectations for its healthcare based business model and its biomarker discovery platform. Such forward-looking statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to a number of risks, factors and uncertainties that may cause actual results, events and performance to differ materially from those referred to in the forward-looking statements. These risks, factors and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, Icoria's ability to identify biomarkers, early stage of development, history of net losses, technological and product development uncertainties, reliance on research collaborations, uncertainty of additional funding and ability to protect its patents and proprietary rights. Certain of these and other risks are identified in Icoria's Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the period ended June 30, 2005, March 31, 2005, as amended, and its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2004, both as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company does not intend to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this release to conform these statements to actual results or to changes in our expectations, except as may be required by law.