ViroLogic Awarded NIH Grant to Develop Hepatitis C Virus Drug Resistance Test


SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- ViroLogic, Inc. announced today that the company has been awarded a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, to develop a Hepatitis C virus (HCV) drug susceptibility assay.

"This grant again reaffirms our leadership and expertise in anti-viral resistance research," said Bill Young, ViroLogic's chairman and CEO. "We believe it also demonstrates how our core competency in virology and assay development can be applied to HCV, a serious chronic viral disease."

Neil Parkin, PhD, scientific director, is the principal investigator of the project, which will focus on the development of rapid and sensitive assays to evaluate the susceptibility of HCV to investigational drugs that inhibit viral polymerase and protease that are both critical for HCV replication. These assays are expected to support the development and characterization of new anti-HCV drugs and the selection of optimal drug regimens for patients undertaking or failing anti-HCV drug therapy.

This latest grant follows the recent announcement of three other NIH grants to ViroLogic and brings the total grant awards announced this quarter to more than $4 million to be funded over three years.

Hepatitis C is one of the most common chronic blood-borne infections in the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 3.9 million Americans are infected with HCV. Currently, no vaccine is available to prevent new HCV infections. Left untreated, chronic HCV infection often leads to end stage liver disease and is the leading reason for liver transplantation in the United States. In contrast to the current treatment of chronic HCV infection, a combination of interferon and ribavirin, the next generations of anti-HCV drugs are designed to target specific viral proteins and directly block critical steps in the HCV replication cycle.

ViroLogic is a biotechnology company advancing individualized medicine by discovering, developing and marketing innovative products to guide and improve treatment of serious viral diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis. ViroLogic's technology is also being used by numerous biopharmaceutical companies to develop new and improved anti-viral therapeutics and vaccines targeted at emerging drug-resistant viruses.

Source: ViroLogic, Inc.

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