Celdara Medical and the University of Vermont Secure NIH Funding to Improve Pandemic Preparedness and Response

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and LEBANON, N.H. and NEW YORKJan. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Celdara Medical, LLC (“Celdara”) today announced that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded it a two-year Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) grant to fund the development of a novel, broad-spectrum therapeutic/prophylactic against RNA viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, SARS, Ebola, influenza, and pathogenic arenaviruses. This project builds on the discoveries of Principal Investigator Jason Botten, a professor at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine in Burlington, Vt. Dr. Botten is also scientific founder of Celdara, and a founding member of Celdara’s Pandemic Security Initiative Scientific Advisory Board.

“We are excited for the support of this potentially game-changing therapy,” Dr. Irena Ivanovska, Celdara’s program lead and director, said. “RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 (responsible for COVID-19), SARS, Ebola, and influenza continue to wreak havoc on a world ill-equipped to control them. Successful development of this broad-spectrum antiviral agent would provide a novel first-line therapy and importantly, enable rapid deployment during new or re-emerging viral outbreaks such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful to the scientists and policymakers at NIAID and across NIH for their support of this program, and we look forward to executing the work and bringing this medicine to patients.”

Dr. Botten’s research has demonstrated that the drug’s target is required for the propagation of arenaviruses, coronaviruses, and filoviruses, and that it associates with these viruses as well as orthomyxoviruses and hantaviruses. In the target’s absence, viral particles cannot attach to host cells, effectively stopping viral spread.

“We’ve made great strides to understand how this protein regulates the infectivity of viral particles,” said Dr. Botten. “This new funding from NIAID provides us with an exciting opportunity to move beyond the basic science and to translate our discoveries into medicines. “Because the host molecule targeted is required for multiple families of pathogenic viruses, we expect that a single antiviral could broadly protect against many of the most dangerous pathogenic threats, thereby preventing or at least mitigating future outbreaks and pandemics. We are thrilled by this opportunity to develop such a countermeasure.”

Celdara is an experienced biopharma developer focused on launching promising products to the patients who need them the most. Celdara has a robust anti-infectives pipeline which forms the foundation from which the Pandemic Security Initiative (PanSec) was launched. PanSec is a public-private partnership which has a singular goal to ensure that we are better prepared for the next pandemic.

Dr. Jake Reder, Celdara’s cofounder and CEO, commented, “We are proud to continue our highly productive partnership with Professor Botten and the University of Vermont, and we are especially excited about the potential of this work in particular. An innovative, safe, and effective broad-spectrum antiviral that could be used both prophylactically and therapeutically is the holy grail of pandemic preparedness. With the support of NIH, we will determine just how close we can come to this ideal. Should we be successful, the resulting medicine would redefine how humanity prepares itself against viral threats.”

Dr. Botten and Celdara began their collaboration in 2016 to develop medicines for treatment of emerging and re-emerging hemorrhagic fever viruses. Since that time, they have secured support from NIH and other funding sources to develop drugs to treat a range of highly pathogenic RNA viruses, including hantaviruses, arenaviruses, coronaviruses, and filoviruses.

The research reported in this press release is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health Grant Award RAI157527. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

About the University of Vermont
Since 1791, the University of Vermont has worked to move humankind forward. UVM’s strengths align with the most pressing needs of our time: the health of our societies and the health of our environment. Our size—large enough to offer a breadth of ideas, resources, and opportunities, yet intimate enough to enable close faculty-student mentorship across all levels of study—allows us to pursue these interconnected issues through cross-disciplinary research and collaboration. Providing an unparalleled educational experience for our students, and ensuring their success, are at the core of what we do. As one of the nation’s first land grant universities, UVM advances Vermont—and the broader society—through the discovery and application of new knowledge.

About The Pandemic Security Initiative
The Pandemic Security Initiative seeks to protect the nation from future pandemics by developing medical countermeasures that integrate the best of ground-breaking science, entrepreneurial innovation, public-sector investment, and private-sector efficiency. With support from the public and private sectors, including the Department of Health and Human Services, its mission is to identify and develop innovative diagnostics, prophylactics, and therapeutics against pandemic scale threats. Celdara Medical initiated this work in 2014 and formalized it under the Pandemic Security Initiative umbrella in early 2020 to capture learnings from and aid in the response to COVID-19. Celdara Medical’s Academic Partner Network includes collaborations with over 60 leading universities, and thousands of pipeline innovations from hundreds of universities and research labs spanning all 50 states and dozens of countries. The Pandemic Security Initiative is an entrepreneurial, operating, health-security product developer. For more information on the Pandemic Security Initiative visit www.pansec.org.

About Celdara Medical
Celdara Medical was founded by Drs. Jake Reder and Michael Fanger in 2008 and is headquartered at the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center (DRTC) in Lebanon, N.H. Celdara Medical builds academic and early-stage innovations into high-potential medical companies, identifying discoveries of exceptional value at the earliest stages and moving them toward the market. Celdara Medical partners with inventors and their institutions, providing the developmental, financial, and business acumen required to bridge discovery and profitability. With robust funding options, a diverse and high impact Programmatic pipeline, and partnerships with world-class academic institutions and industry leaders, Celdara Medical navigates all aspects of a complex industry, accelerating science to improve human health.

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