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Malaria Vaccine Developer Sanaria Inc. and the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute Awarded Collaborative, Multi-Year, US $600,000 NIH Phase I Small Business Innovation Research Grant
Date:7/29/2008

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sanaria Inc., a privately held company in Rockville, Maryland, and the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (UMBI) announced the receipt of a multi-year Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health. The grant will support research and development efforts to genetically engineer mosquitoes that can enhance Sanaria's whole-parasite malaria vaccine production process. Malaria vaccine development is a major humanitarian objective. Malaria causes more than 500 million clinical cases and one million deaths each year. The majority of victims are African children. Tens of thousands of travelers contract malaria annually. During the past 150 years, whenever U.S. military forces have been deployed to areas with significant malaria transmission, they have suffered more casualties from malaria than from hostile fire.

According to Dr. David O'Brochta, Ph.D., a Principal Investigator on the grant and Director of the Insect Transformation Facility at UMBI, "The partnership between Sanaria and UMBI supported by this SBIR grant is an ideal example of public-private partnership in the development of groundbreaking technology. It presents an extraordinary opportunity to exploit the capabilities of our Insect Transformation Facility in pursuit of a goal of enormous biomedical importance." Stephen L. Hoffman, M.D., CEO of Sanaria Inc., notes, "We have now competed successfully for over US $12 million in peer-reviewed NIAID SBIR grants. The SBIR grants and our other grants are providing more than US $50 million to Sanaria. These grants are critical to the success of our Malaria Vaccine development efforts which are aimed at reducing the enormous morbidity and mortality caused by malaria throughout the world, but especially in infants and children in sub-Saharan Africa. This collaboration with the UMBI pro
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