REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded Genelabs Technologies here a three-year $13.6 million research grant to apply patented technologies to the discovery of small molecule drugs to block pathogens that might be used as biological warfare weapons.
Genelabs' proprietary high-throughput assay system enables the discovery and characterization of molecules that bind to DNA via the screening of combinatorial chemistry libraries. Information derived from the system allows the rational design of compounds that function by binding to specific DNA sequences to regulate gene expression.
Sister technology enables discovery of molecules that bind to double-stranded RNA and has the potential to enable the construction of drugs targeted specifically to RNA viruses, another class of biological warfare agents.
"DARPA is investing in innovative technologies that have the potential to provide significant advances in developing broad countermeasures to biological agents," Program Director Shaun Jones stated.