DTRA awards three contracts for botulinum neurotoxin research

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency announced on Feb. 18 that three research and development contracts would be awarded to support "Medical Countermeasures for Botulinum Neurotoxin Intoxication Focused on Therapeutics and Neuroregenerative Medicines."

Montclair State University was awarded $2.5 million for a five-year botulinum drug discovery effort. MSU will synthesize drug candidates for treatment of the toxin.

The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth was awarded $2.8 million over five years to support the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense with high throughput screening of natural product and small molecule libraries.

Ossianix University was awarded $1 million over five years to develop single chain shark antibodies as inhibitors to serve as an alternative to traditional inhibitors of LC catalytic activity.

DTRA has a multicenter program where research projects are submitted, evaluated and selected for sponsorship and collaboration within a network of researchers. The projects by MSU, UMass Darthmouth and Ossianix were chosen for funding through the multicenter program.

Funding will be given in coordination with USAMRICD, which is part of the multicenter collaboration.

The coordinated research projects are under the Memorandum of Agreement between DTRA and USAMRICD, and funding is obligated for the first year of research in fiscal year 2013.