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iPierian to Collaborate With Johns Hopkins University on $3.7 Million NIH Grand Opportunities Grant
Date:10/21/2009

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- iPierian, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on changing the paradigm of drug discovery and development through the application of cellular reprogramming, today announced that it has been selected to participate in a $3.7 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grand Opportunities (GO) grant awarded to The Johns Hopkins University. The grant, given over a two-year span, will be used to generate amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) iPS cells and to evaluate the ability of these cells to reflect human cell biology and the characteristics of native motor neurons and astrocytes, the cell types involved in ALS. The grant was awarded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) of the NIH.

"iPS cell technology holds tremendous promise because it allows scientists to study conditions such as ALS in disease-specific human models for the first time," said John P. Walker, chief executive officer of iPierian. "This research project is an exciting opportunity for Johns Hopkins and iPierian. It will provide valuable information on the cell type specificity and functional biology of ALS iPS cells, which will ultimately help us develop more effective targeted therapies for patients."

About the NIH Grand Opportunities (GO) grants

The NIH established the Research and Research Infrastructure Grand Opportunities (GO) grants program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The GO grants support large-scale research projects that accelerate critical breakthroughs, early and applied research on cutting-edge technologies, and new approaches to improve the synergy and interactions among multi and interdisciplinary research teams. The initiative was established to seek novel approaches in areas that address specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation, or research methods that would benefit from an influx of funds to quickly advance the area in significant ways.

About iPierian

iPierian is a South San Francisco-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the industrialization of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) technology with the mission of creating new therapeutics through cellular reprogramming and directed differentiation of patient cells. iPierian is backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Highland Capital Partners, MPM Capital and FinTech Global Capital. The initial focus of the company is in neurodegeneration, particularly spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson's disease as well as in cardiovascular disease, where iPierian has a collaboration with The Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and Dr. Deepak Srivastava, the institute's director. iPierian plans to enhance its partnership efforts to further expand into metabolic diseases. Earlier this year, the company announced a formal collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University to develop and improve methods of deriving iPS cell lines in order to advance iPS cell technology.

Because iPS cells are believed to be able to grow indefinitely in culture and to differentiate into many cell types, iPS cells have great potential for disease research, preclinical drug testing and cell-based therapy. iPierian's approach places the patient at the forefront of the drug discovery process in order to reduce drug development time and increase the probability of success for drug candidates. iPierian plans to use precise human disease models to find new molecular targets and develop proprietary therapeutic small molecule or biologic drugs for its own pipeline to treat specific diseases.

SOURCE iPierian, Inc.


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SOURCE iPierian, Inc.
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