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November 9, 2011

RxBio nabs $15 million federal contract for anti-radiation drug development

Filed under: Other Regional News — admin @ 10:17 am

JOHNSON CITY, TN - RxBio Inc. has received a $15 million federal contract from a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ’ entity that will allow the company to continue development of its anti-radiation drug Rx100.

If the development is successful, Rx100 will be available to be administered up to 72 hours after acute radiation exposure. Other radiation treatment drugs have to be administered 24 hours after exposure. According to a company statement, no drug that can be administered in that time frame has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The contract’s base is $15 million, but it could be worth as much as $24 million for the company in the next two years.

Earlier this year, the company also received $11 million in funding from the entity, the Biomedical and Advanced Research Development Authority, to continue development of its drug.

RxBio was launched by a group of University of Tennessee Health Science Center researchers, including CEO Shannon McCool, and has received more than $4.5 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health’s National Allergy and Infectious Disease Agency for development of several molecules and drugs, including Rx100.

Development of Rx100 has taken place within the Memphis Bioworks Foundation incubator, but further development will rely heavily on use of facilities within UTHSC, including its Regional Biocontainment Laboratory.

In a statement, McCool said use of the UTHSC facility will allow the company to simulate different types of radiation exposure that the drug could be used to treat.

“As part of a national preparedness effort, we are pleased to work locally to develop a radiation countermeasure that could save the lives of countless Americans, as well as citizens around the world who are exposed to lethal levels of radiation,” McCool said in a statement. “We would not have been able to conduct the research necessary to further develop this drug without access to the facilities within the Regional Biocontainment Lab.”

RxBio, which is based in Johnson City, Tenn., is an early-stage biotechnology company whose near-term focus is the development of novel and proprietary products that protect against lethal whole-body radiation and against damage to the GI tract due to radiation, chemotherapy, and various toxins. All of its operations take place in Memphis.

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