Discovery-stage antivirals get $585,000 from NIAID, and MPI Research will work on preclinical autoimmune candidates.

Kineta has entered two separate deals to further its lead preclinical autoimmune and antiviral discovery programs. NIAID awarded Kineta a two-year $585,000 SBIR grant to fortify its discovery-stage antiviral research program. The proceeds will back work on agonists of the retinoic acid inducible gene I pathway.
Separately, the firm has tapped MPI Research to provide preclinical studies on one of its autoimmune programs. Kineta hopes that the studies will enable Phase I trials to begin in 2010. 

On July 7, Kineta acquired autoimmune disease drug candidates from Airmid. Initial development is focused on multiple sclerosis, but they also have strong potential for other autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes mellitus and rheumatoid arthritis, according to Kineta.

Known as ShK analogs, these molecules are derived from the Caribbean sea anemone. This class of compounds includes potent and highly specific Kv1.3 potassium-channel blockers. They are designed to suppress activation of effector memory T cells that trigger inflammation and tissue damage in autoimmune diseases.

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