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Apr 15, 2014

DesignMedix Awarded $3M to Develop New Malaria Drug

  • Biotech startup DesignMedix has received an almost $3 million NIH grant toward the development of a drug, which the firm claims is an inexpensive cure for drug-resistant malaria that is as safe as the antimalarial treatment chloroquine.

    DesignMedix, a firm founded in 2008, says its technological approach can create a new drug that overcomes malarial drug resistance by inhibiting the drug's transport out of malaria cells. Portland State University professor and DesignMedix' cofounder David Peyton, Ph.D., invented this technology, and the firm will be sharing the $3 million grant with his chemistry lab. 

    DesignMedix has the exclusive rights to develop the technology and is partnering with the Eugene, OR-based company Oregon Consultants to produce material for preclinical and clinical studies.

    “Each year, over 600,000 children under the age of five die of malaria,” said DesignMedix' president and COO Sandra Shotwell, Ph.D., in a statement. “Our new drug will provide another weapon to target this deadly disease, which kills more young children than any other.” 

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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