Support will go toward preclinical research for antibiotics against bioterror agents like anthrax, plague, and tularemia.

The DTRA commissioned SRI International to develop broad-spectrum antibiotics for $8.3 million over three years. SRI will use the money to conduct preclinical research in developing drugs against a range of bioterror agents like anthrax, plague, and tularemia.

SRI will optimize and develop compounds from its bis-indole drug platform for prophylaxis and treatment of biological warfare agents. The bis-indole platform is based on synthetically optimized dietary natural products.

“We have generated a new class of drugs based on compounds found in cruciferous vegetables that have excellent safety profiles,” explains Ling Jong, Ph.D., medicinal chemistry program director in SRI’s Cancer Research Center. “We have already demonstrated the value of the platform in oncology, and this DTRA award now validates the potential of the platform in infectious disease.”

SRI’s lead candidate in the bis-indole platform, SR13668, is an Akt pathway inhibitor. It will soon advance to clinical trials for cancer prevention, according to SRI. The compound was developed as result of a $7.9 million collaboration with the NCI.

The deal with the DTRA marks the second program that SRI has established with the agency. In October 2007, the organization received a $9.5 million contract to identify approved drugs that could be effective against biological threats.

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