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Aktiv-Dry Awarded Research Grant to Explore Inhalable siRNA Dry Powder Targeting RSV

BOULDER, Colo., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Aktiv-Dry LLC has been awarded an SBIR research grant from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to explore the formulation of certain siRNA products as inhalable dry powders that might eventually be used to treat pulmonary disorders such as RSV. Brian Quinn, Ph.D., from Aktiv-Dry, is the principal investigator.

As an intervention strategy for viral infection, new approaches for treating RSV include delivering to the respiratory system short interfering ribonucleic acid oligonucleotides (siRNAs), the molecules that induce RNA interference. Quinn will use Aktiv-Dry's proprietary supercritical carbon dioxide process, CAN-BD, to formulate an oligonucleotide as a powder consisting of micro-scale particles capable of deposition in the lungs.

"The best way to treat an illness is to get the medicine to the principal site of infection, which in the case of RSV is in the lungs," said Quinn, president of Aktiv-Dry. "This proof-of-concept project will attempt to reformulate a siRNA product as a stable, dry powder consisting of particles 1 to 5 microns in diameter. When manufactured under pharmaceutical conditions, infants and children could inhale such particles into their respiratory tracts through the aid of an active dry powder inhaler."

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infects essentially all children within the first two years of life and is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia among infants and children under one year of age. It is also a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the elderly. Each year, RSV infections lead to more than 100,000 hospitalizations and about 2,500 deaths. Current treatment for RSV generally consists of only treating its symptoms, which include fever, runny nose, cough, and sometimes wheezing. No effective drug for treating the RSV infection itself is widely available, nor is there an approved vaccine to prevent RSV.

"If our research is successful, it could lead to a highly effective and noninvasive method for treating RSV and other pulmonary diseases, and provide a tremendous value to the world of public health," said Quinn.

About Aktiv-Dry LLC

Aktiv-Dry LLC, founded in 2002, provides dry powder processing solutions for the vaccine, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries. The company is the recipient of a $20 million Grand Challenges in Global Health grant funded through the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. It has also received government-sponsored R&D grants from the USDA, CDC, and NIH, and undertakes commercial contract research on behalf of biotech and pharmaceutical companies. In addition to its research involving an inhalable measles vaccine, Aktiv-Dry is also involved in research on an inhalable vaccine to help stop smoking and on a project to decrease the body's adsorption of cholesterol that is ingested from food. Other current research projects include the production of dry powders consisting of micro- and nano-particles of oligonucleotides intended for long-term storage. For more information, contact 303-350-3060, and visit the Web site at

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