4 December 2012
Reston, VA – Parabon NanoLabs, Inc. announced today that it has received a joint grant award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a project with Janssen Research & Development, LLC, part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. The funds will support development and testing of a novel therapeutic for prostate cancer – the most common cause of death from cancer in men over age 75. The compound under investigation, PJ-01, will be produced using Parabon's Essemblix™ Drug Development Platform, a powerful combination of computer-aided design (CAD) software for designing macromolecules and nanoscale fabrication technology for their production.
With input from Janssen scientists, the Parabon research team has designed PJ-01 to deliver an FDA approved chemotherapy drug, docetaxel, specifically to prostate tumor cells. Targeting cancerous tissue and avoiding healthy tissue can enable lower doses of the chemotherapy drug to be used, which in turn is expected to reduce unwanted side effects. In addition, the compound is outfitted with molecules to make prostate cancer cells more responsive to the treatment, with the goals of improving efficacy and reducing side effects. The effort will add to Parabon's oncology drug pipeline, which includes compounds for treating glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer.
The NSF grant program that funds the work, called Technology Enhancement for Commercial Partnerships (TECP), is a supplemental funding opportunity available only to companies, such as Parabon, that have received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from NSF. It is intended to foster co-development relationships between SBIR awardees and strategic corporate partners.
"The NSF TECP program not only funds groundbreaking research," said Dr. Steven Armentrout, President and CEO of Parabon NanoLabs, "it also enables small business innovators to establish valuable industry relationships. With intellectual partnership from Janssen's creative scientists, we are confident this project will further validate our Essemblix platform."
The project allows Janssen scientists to test Essemblix compounds in a rigorous and cost controlled manner. Dr. Edward Lawson, a principal scientist at Janssen and lead advisor on the project, said, "We are excited about our collaboration with Parabon and the potential of this new technology to enable us to bring innovative treatments to patients faster."
About Parabon NanoLabs
Parabon NanoLabs Inc. (PNL) is a nano-pharmaceutical company that develops novel therapeutics using its proprietary Essemblix™ Drug Development Platform – a powerful combination of computer-aided design (CAD) software for designing macromolecules and nanoscale fabrication technology for their production. The Essemblix development platform gives Parabon scientists the ability to design and construct multi-functional macromolecules from simpler subcomponents in "plug and play" fashion, replacing the current paradigm of "drug discovery," which is slow, unpredictable and costly, with a new "drug design" paradigm that is rapid, deliberate and affordable.
About the National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2012, its budget is $7.0 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives over 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards nearly $420 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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