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Oct 3, 2006

MacroGenics Receives NIAID $50-M Award Targeting West Nile Virus

  • The NIAID awarded MacroGenics a five-year, $50-million contract to develop the company’s Mab to treat West Nile virus (WNV), currently in late-stage preclinical trials. The contract will help advance the antibody through manufacturing and Phase II trials, according to the company. MacroGenics’ expects that it will enter Phase I trials in the first half of 2007.

    “This award is especially timely, as there currently are no approved treatments for West Nile virus and there is no evidence that this disease is abating since its introduction in the U.S. in 1999,” points out Scott Koenig, president and CEO. There has been a 43% increase in the number of reported cases this year to date compared to this time in 2005, according to the company.

    MacroGenics’ antibody will be targeted at individuals who develop neuroinvasive disease as a result of WNV infection, including patients with meningitis and encephalitis.

    This grant adds to a recent award of almost $13 million from the NIAID to further develop a Mab with neutralizing activity against smallpox virus and to develop cross-neutralizing Mabs for the H5N1 influenza virus.

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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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