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PTC Therapeutics Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Funding

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J., Nov. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- PTC Therapeutics, Inc. announced today that it will receive funding through Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that enables researchers worldwide to test unorthodox ideas that address persistent health and development challenges.  Dr. Zhengxian Gu, Director, Antiviral Biology will pursue an innovative global health research project, titled "Exploration of a Novel Mechanism Regulating HIV Latency."


Grand Challenges Explorations funds scientists and researchers worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges.  Dr. Zhengxian Gu's project is one of 110 Grand Challenges Explorations grants announced today.  

"We believe in the power of innovation—that a single bold idea can pioneer solutions to our greatest health and development challenges," said Chris Wilson, Director of Global Health Discovery for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "Grand Challenges Explorations seeks to identify and fund these new ideas wherever they come from, allowing scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs to pursue the kinds of creative ideas and novel approaches that could help to accelerate the end of polio, cure HIV infection or improve sanitation."  

Projects that are receiving funding show promise in tackling priority global health issues where solutions do not yet exist.  This includes finding effective methods to eliminate or control infectious diseases such as polio and HIV as well as discovering new sanitation technologies.

To learn more about Grand Challenges Explorations, visit

Although HIV therapies are effective in dramatically reducing virus levels in infected patients, a small percentage of HIV remains dormant.  These dormant, or latent viruses, are not affected by current anti-retroviral therapies which inhibit only actively replicating virus.  Dormant viruses, however, can begin to actively replicate, so that if patients discontinue anti-retroviral therapies the latent virus rapidly re-infects the cells in body. Thus, an effective therapy that targets dormant viruses would be a significant advance in HIV treatments to completely remove HIV from the patient.  The Grand Challenges Explorations grant will support PTC Therapeutics' efforts towards the development of novel oral therapeutics that target dormant HIV.  

About Grand Challenges Explorations
Grand Challenges Explorations is a US$100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Launched in 2008, Grand Challenge Explorations grants have already been awarded to nearly 500 researchers from over 40 countries.  The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organization.  The initiative uses an agile, accelerated grant-making process with short, two-page online applications and no preliminary data required.  Initial grants of $100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have an opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US$1 million.

About PTC Therapeutics, Inc
PTC is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of orally administered small-molecule drugs that target post-transcriptional control processes.  Post-transcriptional control processes regulate the rate and timing of protein production and are of central importance to proper cellular function.  PTC's internally discovered pipeline addresses multiple therapeutic areas, including rare genetic disorders, oncology and infectious diseases.  PTC has developed proprietary technologies that it applies in its drug discovery activities and is the basis for collaborations with leading biopharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca, Celgene, Genzyme, Merck, Pfizer and Roche. For more information, visit the company's web site at

SOURCE PTC Therapeutics, Inc.
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