NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Biotech firm HemoShear today announced a $4.3 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant to profile the effects of 50 known drugs on the human blood vessel system using the company's proprietary human vascular surrogate system.
The grant, the third received by the Charlottesville, Va.-based company in the past two years, is from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
HemoShear will use proprietary bioinformatics methods to develop a predictive vascular gene signature that will allow researchers to score new drug compounds for vascular safety risk, the company said, adding that no technologies currently available to drug manufacturers have such capability.
HemoShear develops human and animal cell-based surrogate systems for the discovery and evaluation of new drug compounds, and in a statement, Robert Ruffolo, a member of its scientific advisory board and former president of R&D at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, said that HemoShear's technology can "play a role in identifying and validating new molecular targets in the vascular system for which new drugs can be designed.
"We now believe the technology will be able to play an important role in predicting both vascular efficacy and side effects of drug candidates earlier in the drug discovery process and thereby reduce the risk of failure in pharmaceutical research and development," he said.
Brett Blackman, co-founder and chief scientific officer of HemoShear, will be the principal investigator on the grant.
The company previously received a Phase I SBIR grant for the development of a human surrogate vascular inflammation system, which has now been validated and is being used in customer research programs, HemoShear said.
In April, it received a Phase I SBIR grant to develop a rodent liver surrogate system as the first step toward developing an advanced human liver system.