DoD signs contract to develop biological pathogen antidotes

The Department of Defense has signed a three year, $8.2 million contract with South Brunswick, New Jersey's Snowdon, Inc., to develop drug molecules like antidotes and vaccines to protect against eight biological pathogens.

Snowdon won out its contract over larger corporate competitors after a two year process of applying, My Central Jersey reports.

“We at Snowdon felt we submitted a compelling and innovative application with a novel concept,” Snowdon founder William Welsh said, according to My Central Jersey.

While many companies rely completely on laboratory experimentation and testing, Snowdon uses a computer-based algorithms for research, in addition to employing chemists and biologists to develop their drugs.

“Drug discovery is very expensive and time consuming…and sometimes it can end in failure,” Welsh said, according to My Central Jersey. “This way, instead of taking months to do things, we can do (them) in a matter of weeks or days.”

Welsh, who began his computer-based drug development research in the early 1980s in Cincinnati, founded the company in 2007 with only one other employee. It has since added 20-plus employees and works for government agencies, including the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology and the National Institutes of Health.

“It’s not only a validation of our technology, but also in terms of practical matters, it’s helped with equipment purchases and new hires,” Welsh said, according to My Central Jersey. “The DOD contract allowed us to triple our footprint. In this economy and environment, we are very fortunate that we can provide jobs to skilled people so that they can stay in this area.”

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