SAN FRANCISCO, June 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Tunitas Therapeutics, Inc., a private company discovering and developing novel human fusion proteins for the treatment of asthma and other allergic diseases, has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). The three-year, $3 million grant is aimed at advancing Tunitas' first clinical candidate, a member of the GE2 family, into preclinical development. Specifically the grant will support non-human primate efficacy studies, mechanism of action experiments, and discovery of a next-generation molecule. This grant brings Tunitas' NIH-led grant funding to nearly $10 million.
"This SBIR grant is an important step forward in the development of the Tunitas allergy platform," said Nolan Sigal, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tunitas. "Starting with the ground-breaking work of Dr. Andrew Saxon, Tunitas' co-founder and Emeritus Professor at the UCLA-Geffen School of Medicine, we have successfully advanced the GE2 Program to the point where we expect to begin human clinical trials in 2014."
Tunitas' lead compound GE2 is a fusion protein whose dual mechanism of action positions it to be a game-changing therapeutic for patients with moderate-to-severe asthma uncontrolled by conventional bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids, as well as for patients with severe, life-threatening food allergy. GE2 is a direct inhibitor of basophil and mast cell function, the primary cellular mediators of allergic disease, and it suppresses the production of allergic antibodies through its interaction with IgE-producing lymphocytes. GE2 is designed for long-term subcutaneous therapy to be given on an ongoing basis.
Asthma remains a significant unmet medical need in the United States and throughout the world. In the United States alone, this disease every year consumes $18 billion annually in healthcare costs, and, each day, causes 40,000 people to miss school or work, results in 1000 hospital admissions, and causes 11 deaths. Nearly 5 million asthma sufferers are under age 18. Asthma is the most common chronic childhood disease, affecting more than one child in 20.
About Tunitas Therapeutics
Tunitas Therapeutics, Inc. (San Francisco) is a privately held biopharmaceutical company that is developing novel and precisely targeted protein therapeutics with the potential to dramatically change the lives of allergy sufferers. The company's therapeutic approach offers the potential for long-lasting treatments with safer, faster efficacy than conventional therapies, since they are capable of altering the natural course of such allergic diseases as food allergies, rhinitis and asthma. With close to $10 million raised to date in non-dilutive financing through peer-reviewed grants, Tunitas has successfully executed its capital efficient, semi-virtual business model. For more information on Tunitas Therapeutics, please visit the company's website at www.tunitastherapeutics.com.
Nolan H. Sigal, M.D., Ph.D.
President & CEO
Tunitas Therapeutics, Inc.
(415) 821 2413
SOURCE Tunitas Therapeutics, Inc.