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University of Utah and Navigen Pharmaceuticals Announce a New Government Contract to Advance Slit2N for the Treatment of Hemorrhagic Fever and Anthrax Exposure
Date:12/8/2010

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Navigen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that it has been awarded a new four year contract from the Department of Defense Program, Transformational Medical Technologies (TMT) for the development of Navigen's protein therapeutic, Slit2N, for the treatment of viral hemorrhagic fevers (resulting from exposure to agents such as Ebola or Marburg virus) and anthrax infection.  Navigen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. may receive up to $21.5 million in support of development efforts under this new Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) contract HDTRA1-10-C-0054.

The Slit2N technology originated in the laboratory of Dean Li, M.D., Ph.D., director of the University of Utah's Molecular Medicine Program, and is licensed from the University by Navigen.  The University of Utah School of Medicine's Molecular Medicine Program is a unique cadre of physician-scientists and basic science researchers collaborating to find solutions to important problems in clinical medicine.  In March of 2010, Li and colleagues in the Molecular Medicine Program published a study in Science Translational Medicine showing that Slit2N controlled the otherwise pathologic effects of the inflammatory response to virulent influenza, sepsis, and other potentially deadly infections while allowing the body's immune system to fight the underlying infection.  Although inflammation is a healthy part of the body's immune response, when left unchecked it weakens blood vessels and causes them to leak.  In the most extreme cases, this vascular leak results in non-cardiogenic shock and organ failure.  Li found that Slit2N can prevent the negative effects of inflammation and stabilize blood vessels.  The discovery raised the possibility that broad-range therapies could be developed to fight both viral and bacterial infections, such as pandemic flu, sepsis, and even human-made biological agents.

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SOURCE Navigen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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