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Avaxia Biologics Awarded Phase I SBIR Grant to Develop Antibody Therapeutic for Oral Mucositis
Date:9/16/2009

Collaboration with Biomodels facilitates development of novel drug product

BURLINGTON, Mass., Sept. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Avaxia Biologics, Inc., a biotechnology company developing oral antibodies for disease targets accessible via the GI tract, announced today that it has been awarded a Phase I SBIR grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to support the development of a novel antibody therapeutic for oral mucositis.

Avaxia is developing a polyclonal anti-TNF antibody to be administered to the oral cavity of patients suffering from mucositis. The antibody is designed to reduce the pain and ulceration associated with this serious side effect of cancer treatment. The grant will fund key pre-clinical studies of the antibody in a well-established animal model of radiation-induced oral mucositis.

"We are delighted to have been awarded this grant from the NIH," said Barbara S. Fox, Avaxia's founder and CEO. "Our preliminary data indicate that an anti-TNF antibody, delivered topically to a damaged mucosal membrane, will limit the severity of the inflammatory response induced by ionizing radiation. The support of the NIH provides both the funding we need to advance the development of this much needed therapeutic, and critical scientific validation of our approach."

Avaxia is carrying out the grant-funded research in collaboration with Biomodels LLC, a Watertown-based pre-clinical drug research organization. Biomodels specializes in animal models of toxicities associated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy used for the treatment of cancer and is a world leader in the study of cancer treatment-related mucosal injury (mucositis) .

"We are looking forward to working closely with Avaxia Biologics scientists in developing and testing a drug that could lead to an effective therapy for oral mucositis, a debilitatin
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SOURCE Avaxia Biologics, Inc.
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