Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Department of Defense Awards DxDiscovery Inc. and USA College of Medicine $1M for Research

DxDiscovery Inc. and the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently were awarded a $1 million Phase II small business innovation research (SBIR) contract to continue efforts aimed at developing safe and effective ways to combat diseases caused by pathogenic Burkholderia species.

Burkholderia species cause significant morbidity and mortality in human populations, and infections caused by these bacteria are often difficult to diagnose.

The current award will enable Dr. Mary Burtnick, assistant professor of microbiology at the USA College of Medicine, and Dr. Paul Brett, associate professor of microbiology at the USA College of Medicine, to assess the protective capacity of several carbohydrate-specific monoclonal antibodies that have recently been generated in collaboration with DxDiscovery. DxDiscovery is a biotechnology research and development firm. Their goal is to develop quality, high-affinity antibodies to microbial antigens.

“The ultimate goal of the project is to develop humanized monoclonal antibodies that will serve as novel vaccines and immunotherapeutics to prevent and/or treat melioidosis and glanders,” Dr. Burtnick said.

Melioidosis and glanders are emerging infectious diseases that do not currently have licensed vaccines.

“This research is important because diagnosis and treatment of melioidosis and glanders is challenging, and without appropriate antibiotic treatment, acute infections can be fatal,” Dr. Brett said.

The research continues a long-time collaboration between Dr. Mark Hubbard and Dr. David AuCoin at DxDiscovery, and Drs. Burtnick and Brett at USA.

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