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Botten & Celdara's NIH Grant to Help Develop Therapeutic Antibodies for Deadly Disease

June 14, 2023 by Jennifer Nachbur and Celdara Medical

Celdara Medical and UVM Professor of Medicine Jason Botten, Ph.D., have received a Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases that will support the ongoing development of therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of Hantavirus Cardiopulmonary Syndrome – a severe respiratory disease caused by rodent-borne hantaviruses.

Jason Botten, Ph.D.

Currently no approved treatments exist for Hantavirus Cardiopulmonary Syndrome

Up to 40 percent of people stricken with Hantavirus Cardiopulmonary Syndrome (HCPS) – a severe respiratory disease caused by rodent-borne hantaviruses – die. Though cases occur across the Americas, the disease currently has no approved treatments, but thanks to support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a potential new therapy is on the horizon.

The funding – a Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant – will support the ongoing development of therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of HCPS and the continued collaboration between Celdara Medical and Jason Botten, Ph.D., professor of medicine at the University of Vermont (UVM), scientific founder at Celdara Medical, and principal investigator.

Dozens of hantavirus species have been identified across the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Celdara Medical aims to address this critical unmet need by developing novel antibodies that target hantaviruses and prevent them from causing severe respiratory illness.

This project builds upon the discoveries of Botten, whose research focuses on understanding the immune response to viral infections and developing new therapeutics based on key virus-host interactions. The research conducted by Botten and his team has been instrumental in the ongoing development of HCPS therapeutic antibodies at Celdara Medical.

“I began my career studying hantavirus disease shortly after the initial outbreaks of disease in the Americas in the 1990s,” said Botten. “The extreme lethality of these viruses was terrifying at that time, particularly because there were no effective medicines or treatments. Nearly 30 years later, we still lack these essential countermeasures to prevent or treat this disease. I’m extremely grateful to the NIH for this opportunity to develop a potential frontline treatment for this deadly disease,” he added.

“We are very thankful to receive this Phase II STTR funding from the NIAID to advance our work on Hantavirus Cardiopulmonary Syndrome,” said Jake Reder, Ph.D., co-founder and chief executive officer of Celdara Medical. “Despite high case fatality rates, there is vanishingly little therapeutic development activity. Thanks to NIAID prioritization of these threats, we’re able to advance some very promising preclinical molecules towards the clinic and move closer to our goal of providing effective treatments for patients suffering from this devastating disease.”

Joana Murad Mabaera, Ph.D., executive director of research and development at Celdara Medical and principal investigator, remarked, “With this funding, we expect to develop a potent neutralizing monoclonal antibody, isolated from acutely infected patients, that can become a first-line antiviral for the treatment or prevention of HCPS.”

Research reported in this press release is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under award number R42AI132047-03. The content is solely the responsibility of Celdara Medical and UVM and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

(This article was adapted from a press release produced by Celdara Medical.)

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