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Neurome, Inc. Selected For A Grant Offer From The Foundation For The National Institutes Of Health Of $3.9 Million To Support Development Of A Targeted Mucosal Vaccine Delivery Technology 
10/19/2005 5:09:24 PM

SAN DIEGO, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Neurome, Inc. announced today that it has been selected for a grant offer from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health through the Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative. The project is among 43 groundbreaking research projects to improve health in developing countries, supported by $436 million from the Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative.

The three year project addresses the challenge to develop a needle-free vaccine delivery system that will enable the administration of vaccines in any field setting without the need for complex equipment, specialized training, or dedicated facilities. Initial research will be applied to new formulations of influenza vaccines, but the technology has the potential for application to other infectious diseases affecting mucosal surfaces such as airways and intestine. By using a strategy of targeting the vaccines to specific receptors in airway or intestinal epithelium, it is hoped that synthetic vaccines can be produced that induce rapid and potent antibody responses at mucosal surfaces where they can provide the best protection from infectious organisms or their toxins.

"This project continues the process from our successful application of Neurome's TOGA gene discovery tools toward the development of technologies and therapeutic products that promise to have a significant impact on global health," commented Warren Young, Ph.D., President and Chief Operating Officer of Neurome.

The Principal Investigator for this project is David D. Lo, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Vaccine Technology at Neurome. Dr. Lo is also Member, Division of Developmental Immunology, at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, one of the leading immunology research institutes in the United States.

About Grand Challenges in Global Health

The Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative was launched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (www.gatesfoundation.org) in 2003, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, with a $200 million grant to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (www.fnih.org) and is a major international effort to achieve scientific breakthroughs against diseases that kill millions of people each year in the world's poorest countries. It is funded with a $450 million commitment from the Gates Foundation, $27.1 million from the Wellcome Trust, and $4.5 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The initiative is managed by global health experts at the Foundation for NIH, the Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, and CIHR. The grand challenges initiative is based on the recognition that poor health is one of the greatest impediments to international development. Although the scientific community has the resources and brainpower to develop new, innovative, and more affordable solutions to health problems in developing countries, only a small fraction of existing biomedical research efforts are directed toward health problems that disproportionately affect the 2 billion poorest people on earth. To date, there has been no systematic effort to identify the most critical scientific challenges in global health and direct funds to solve them. By directing substantial and carefully targeted resources toward key health-related research questions pertinent to developing countries, the grand challenges initiative is intended to attract talented investigators to address these issues and significantly accelerate the development of affordable, practical solutions. For more information, please visit www.grandchallengesgh.org.

About Neurome

Neurome, Inc. is a discovery stage biotechnology company that seeks therapeutic solutions to human neurodegenerative diseases. The company focuses its efforts on Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) -- usually fatal neurodegenerative disorders that are currently untreatable and share characteristics which make them particularly amenable to Neurome's expertise and technologies. Neurome is also engaged in the research and development of novel delivery systems for targeted mucosal vaccines.

Since its founding in 2000, Neurome has developed and optimized proprietary technologies to reveal and quantify gene expression patterns and the resultant morphological details of brain structures in normal and pathological brains with an unprecedented level of sensitivity, specificity and resolution. Neurome's unique technologies to measure and assess neurodegenerative processes at work -- at the molecular, cellular and macroscopic levels -- are ideally suited to identify the earliest evidence of pathology in models of human diseases of the Central Nervous System, as well as to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of pharmaceutical candidates for intervention. The company dedicates these technologies to discovery and development of drugs to provide effective treatments for diseases characterized by neurodegeneration. Detailed information on the Neurome technologies and the scientific and medical challenges of human neurodegenerative disorders are available at Neurome's website: www.neurome.com.

Neurome, Inc.

CONTACT: Najla L. Aftahi of Neurome, Inc., +1-858-677-0466,naftahi@neurome.com