Inhibitors of Anthrax Lethal Factor Metalloproteinase

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Health and Human Services
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$2,695,398.00
Award Year:
2007
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase II
Contract:
2R44AI052587-06
Award Id:
60500
Agency Tracking Number:
AI052587
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
PANTHERA BIOPHARMA, LLC, 99-193 AIEA HEIGHTS DR, STE 136, AIEA, HI, 96701
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
620852769
Principal Investigator:
ALANJOHNSON
(808) 457-1421
AJOHNSON@PANTHERABIO.COM
Business Contact:
LISAHOLLOWAY
(808) 792-1333
mjansson@pantherabio.com
Research Institute:
n/a
Abstract
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Anthrax Lethal Factor (LF) is a metalloproteinase introduced into the cells of mammalian hosts during infection by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. LF disrupts intracellular signaling pathways mediated by the MAPKKs, r esulting in cell toxicity, sepsis, respiratory failure and rapid death. While antibiotic therapy is effective if given in the first 48 h after symptoms appear, it cannot prevent death if initiated after this narrow therapeutic window. Although exposure to this pathogen is limited in nature, the lethality of anthrax spores as a bioterrorism weapon was demonstrated in the 2001 attacks through the US mail. Novel therapeutics capable of inhibiting the toxic effects of LF are needed to combat late-stage disease. Current treatment methods such as antibiotics, vaccines, and biologic therapies in development, suffer from significant drawbacks. Common to each is an inability to protect cells from the direct effects of LF. These therapies are also vulnerable to next g eneration genetically modified weapons exploiting LF toxicity. Directly targeting LF activity may allow synergy with current therapies and is the only proposed method of anthrax therapy that may provide rescue during late-stage infection. Use of an LF inhi bitor has recently been validated in animals as a therapeutic approach. To date, however, no reported LF inhibitors possess the characteristics needed for a drug capable of protecting the general population in the event of a large scale bioterrorism anthra x attack. The current strategy at Hawaii Biotech Inc. (HBI) employs a three tiered screening cascade using assays designed to identify potent LF inhibitors with good PK properties and efficacy in animal models of anthrax infection. Achievement of this goal will require the continued medicinal chemistry optimization of inhibitors discovered at HBI as well as the identification of new lead series. Computational high throughput docking protocols developed at HBI and tailored specifically towards LF will be use d to discover new inhibitors as backups to our current leads. In vitro profiling of compounds to assess potency and selectivity for LF along with molecular modeling of lead series will guide potency optimization. A unique panel of LF mutants prepared at HB I will also be used to guide the design and optimization of novel LF inhibitors. The physicochemical properties, PK, and ADMET characteristics of potent inhibitors will be determined to allow selection of the best candidates for in vivo testing. Finally, t he efficacy of potential pre-clinical candidates will be demonstrated in established animal models of anthrax infection. The work proposed in this Phase II Renewal will build on HBI's expert knowledge of LF as a drug target with the goal of identifying an orally bioavailable preclinical candidate that demonstrates in vivo efficacy in a post-exposure animal model of anthrax lethal factor intoxication. The 2001 bioterrorism attack which delivered anthrax spores through the US mail resulted in eleven confirmed cases of the disease and led to five deaths. The current lack of an effective treatment for exposure to anthrax makes a repeat this unfortunate tragedy a real possibility. The goal of this research is to identify a drug which will protect the general publ ic from any future acts of bioterrorism using anthrax as a weapon.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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