Akelos Inc. has been awarded a Phase I/II Fast-Track Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) of the National Institutes of Health. The grant, deriving from a highly competitive application and review process at the NINDS, will provide nearly $700,000 for Phase 1 (years 1-2). If the work reaches NIH benchmarks, Akelos may receive up to an additional $2.990 million for Phase II (years 3-5), with a total of up to $3.69 million to help the company accomplish its goal of developing a potent, non-opioid therapeutic for the treatment of peripheral sensory neuropathic pain.
Weill Cornell Medicine has received an STTR grant subaward, for which Dr. Peter Goldstein, a professor of anesthesiology and of anesthesiology in neuroscience at the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine, is the principal investigator. Dr. Goldstein will work closely with co-investigator Dianna E. Willis, Ph.D., associate director of the Burke Neurological Institute, where she is also lab director of the Laboratory for Axonal and RNA Biology.
Akelos holds an exclusive, world-wide license to the IP from Weill Cornell Medicine surrounding this research. The research team has been conducting in vitro, in vivo, and in silico screens aimed at the identification of novel lead molecules to treat chronic pain without the risk of addiction. The goals of this project are to optimize the active pharmacophore component of the company's identified lead compound and use that novel molecule to create a new next-generation first-in-class drug for the treatment of peripheral neuropathic pain.
"We are grateful for the support provided by the NIH for our research and development effort," said Dr. Steven Fox, chairman of Akelos, Inc. "In addition to the financial support, this grant has been reviewed by world-class neurobiologists on the NINDS Review Committee, a robust validation of our unique approach to solving the unmet challenge of treating peripheral neuropathic pain. We look forward to the opportunity represented by this STTR funding to accelerate our path to testing a new, effective treatment for suffering patients."
As a member of Weill Cornell Medicine's Department of Anesthesiology, Dr. Goldstein received research funding from his department to develop the candidate therapy. Subsequently, he applied for and received funding to further advance and de-risk the technology from the institution's dedicated internal seed technology development program known as the Daedalus Fund for Innovation, part of Weill Cornell Medicine Enterprise Innovation, which aims to accelerate the development of new discoveries by providing funding on a competitive basis for critical path de-risking and proof-of-concept studies that are necessary to leverage commercial investment and partnering arrangements. In 2018, the institution, through Weill Cornell Medicine Enterprise Innovation, licensed the discovery to Akelos Inc. with the express purpose of maturing and commercializing the candidate therapy for clinical application.
Weill Cornell Medicine Enterprise Innovation accelerates the best of biomedical innovation to market, translating groundbreaking research into potentially transformational next-generation care. Enterprise Innovation provides a bridge between academic researchers and industry stakeholders, brokering engagements and alliances, engaging with and educating faculty and trainees about biotech commercialization and business development—which includes patenting, licensing, and marketing—and offering a full suite of entrepreneurship programming, education, mentoring, de-risking and gap funding opportunities and other resources. Weill Cornell Medicine Enterprise Innovation is comprised of the Center for Technology Licensing at Weill Cornell Medicine, the Office of BioPharma Research Alliances, the BioVenture eLabs and the Daedalus Fund for Innovation.
Dr. Goldstein is a scientific advisory board member of Akelos, Inc. For more information, please contact:
Dr. Steven Fox, CEO
Akelos Inc. Forward-Looking Statement: This press release contains forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on management's expectations and are subject to certain factors, risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results, outcomes of events, timing and performance to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. The information contained in this press release is believed to be current as of the date of original issue. Akelos, Inc. expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in our expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements are based. These statements include, among others, those related to: the results of research and development activities, uncertainties relating to preclinical and clinical testing, the cost, timing and outcome of the regulatory development and approval process, our budgets, expenditures and financing plans, our need for substantial additional funds, patent and intellectual property matters, our dependence on third parties, including contract research and contract clinical trial organizations; and market opportunity and competition.
The information contained in this press release is believed to be current as of the date of original issue. Akelos, Inc. expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in our expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements are based.
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Original Source: Akelos Inc. Receives STTR Grant From NINDS