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New Platform Technologies for Viral and Therapeutic Evolution Assays

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Contract: 140D6318C0006
Agency Tracking Number: D2-1904
Amount: $1,507,560.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: SB171-003
Solicitation Number: 2017.1
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2017-12-28
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-01-27
Small Business Information
63 Flushing Avenue, Building 128, Brooklyn, NY, 11205
DUNS: 080507421
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Dr. Ariel Weinberger
 (301) 502-7772
Business Contact
 Ariel Weinberger
Phone: (301) 502-7772
Research Institution
From HIV to metastatic cancer, state-of-the-art therapeutics are static biological or pharmaceutical compoundswhose efficacy is inevitably lost once their evolving disease targets sufficiently mutate.We engineered the first adaptive therapeutics designed to co-adapt with adapting disease agentsto provide resistance-proof disease control. Known as Therapeutic Interfering Particles (TIPs), these therapeutics are viral deletion mutants engineered to be obligate molecular parasites of targeted diseases. Given this obligate parasitism, natural selection is predicted to drive the TIPs co-evolve with their changing disease targets to maintain parasitism and disease control. Yet, prior to our feasibility studies, no continuous-culture laboratory platform existed to test the possibility that TIPs could indefinitely co-evolve with rapidly evolving disease targets such as HIV. More generally, no laboratory system existed in which to assay long-term viral evolution under human-like (i.e., continuous-culture) conditions.Here we propose a 3-year effort to optimize and transition prototype TRL4+ HIV and HCMV Viroreactors into TRL7 technologies that assay disease evolution and therapeutic control under long-term, in vivo like conditions.Once combined with technologies under development in the DARPA Intercept Program, the ViroReactors will enable us to rapidly develop, test and optimize resistance-proof interventions in the time-scale required to halt an emerging pandemic.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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