Peregrine Researchers Receive $1.68 Million NIAID Biodefense Grant For Research Into the Treatment of Lassa Fever

TUSTIN, Calif. -- Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announces that researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have received a $1.68 million grant from The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for research in using Peregrine's anti-aminophospholipid antibodies as a potential treatment for Lassa Fever. NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that conducts and supports research that strives to understand, treat, and ultimately prevent the myriad infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases that threaten hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

"We are pleased to receive this grant to conduct exploratory research using anti-aminophospholipid antibodies as potential anti-viral agents," said Philip Thorpe, PhD, inventor of Peregrine's anti-aminophospholipid technology and professor of pharmacology at UT Southwestern. "We are developing drugs to use against Lassa fever that operate on a new principle in virology. They exploit the fact that many viruses coat themselves with an outer membrane where some of the lipids are inside-out. The drugs direct our immune responses to the inside-out components of the viral membrane, or envelope. These drugs potentially could be effective against numerous viruses that have similar outer membranes, including smallpox. Under this research grant, the arenaviruses will be selected as the primary target; however, the information gathered from these studies may extend to other viruses."

The NIAID biodefense program is particularly interested in finding treatments for viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs), which encompass a group of similar diseases caused by four types of viruses: Arenaviruses, Bunyaviruses, Filoviruses and Hemorrhagic flaviviruses. Lassa fever is an arenavirus. These viruses pose a risk from intentional exposure because, with very few exceptions, no vaccines or proven treatments exist, and many of the diseases are highly fatal. After human infection occurs, some VHFs can be transmitted from person to person through close contact or contaminated objects, such as syringes and needles.

Source: Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, Inc.