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SRI International Completes Biosciences Facility Expansion in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

MENLO PARK, Calif., Oct. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- SRI International has completed the final stage of expansion of its 40,000-square foot research and development (R&D) facility in Harrisonburg, Virginia. SRI funded the $2.8 million build-out to further advance its bioscience research capabilities at SRI's Shenandoah Valley (SRI SV) Center for Advanced Drug Research. SRI has also renewed its five-year lease in the Innovation Village at Rockingham, reaffirming its commitment to the region.

SRI's new biomedical facilities include more than 2,500-square feet of laboratory and storage areas for preclinical research, drug discovery, and drug development programs to support growing client and partner needs. R&D at SRI Shenandoah Valley focuses on basic research, including emerging infectious diseases, metabolic diseases, and proteomics; therapeutic discovery and development of drugs, vaccines and biologics; and personalized medicine, such as companion diagnostics and biomarkers.

As part of SRI's growth, renowned experts have joined the SRI Biosciences team. New hires at SRI Shenandoah Valley include:

  • Thomas Voss, Ph.D., Director of Virology, Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases: Voss' research interests include cell-virus interactions and their role in acute viral infections, as well as therapeutic drug and vaccine development. At SRI, he is continuing his research on new models for developing treatments for influenza and other infectious diseases. He joined SRI from the faculty of Tulane School of Medicine's Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Earlier, he worked in various roles at Southern Research Institute, ultimately as vice president of the Homeland Security and Emerging Infectious Disease Division.
  • Tianyi "Tony" Wang, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Virology, Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases: Wang studies the entry mechanism of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and natural immunity against viruses. His current research includes characterizing the role of the occludin protein in HCV entry and how HCV infection alters the physiology of tight junctions, the areas between cells where membranes join together. Prior to joining SRI, Wang was a faculty member in the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology.
  • Lynn Chellarajan, Laboratory Supervisor: Chellarajan is the operational manager of SRI's new SRI SV preclinical laboratories and oversees the daily operation of a broad range of toxicology and pharmacology studies conducted to advance promising therapeutics from the discovery stage towards human clinical trials. Prior to joining SRI, she spent more than a decade working in the pharmaceutical industry at PharmaMar USA, Millennium, and Eisai. Chellarajan is actively recruiting additional staff to support SRI's expanding preclinical activities.

"In 2007, a small number of SRI colleagues and I first began working in a laboratory on the campus of James Madison University, which marked the founding of our Center for Advanced Drug Research in Shenandoah Valley. Since then, due in large part to the support of the Commonwealth of Virginia and other regional partners, we have grown and established a state-of-the-art facility tackling the challenges of drug discovery and development for critical and emerging diseases," said Krishna Kodukula, Ph.D., executive director, strategic development and site head of SRI Shenandoah Valley. "Tom Voss, Tony Wang, and Lynn Chellarajan, the most recent staff members to join our team from around the world, are valuable assets in SRI's expanded research capabilities."

SRI's successful growth in Shenandoah Valley has also been demonstrated through regional innovation programs and spin-off companies that have resulted from SRI research and development. Regional and local start-ups include Redcoat Solutions, Inc. and RioGin. Redcoat will soon launch bed bug detection products into commercial and consumer markets. The products will allow users to quickly determine when a room is infested with bed bugs before obvious signs of infestation are visible. RioGin is researching a technology to reduce side effects and improve the efficacy of peptide drugs.

SRI SV is located on 25 acres in the Innovation Village at Rockingham, a 325-acre development less than two hours from Washington, D.C., and other mid-Atlantic cities.

About SRI Biosciences
SRI Biosciences carries out basic research, drug discovery, and drug development. SRI has all of the resources necessary to take R&D from initial discoveries to clinical trials. SRI's product pipeline has yielded marketed drugs, therapeutics currently in human testing, and additional programs at earlier stages. SRI Biosciences offers a wide range of contract research organization (CRO) services, helping government and industry clients and partners advance drugs and other biomedical products toward commercialization. SRI is also working to create the next generation of technologies in areas such as diagnostics, drug delivery, medical devices, and systems biology.

About SRI International
Innovations from SRI International have created new industries, billions of dollars of marketplace value, and lasting benefits to society—touching our lives every day. SRI, a nonprofit research and development institute based in Silicon Valley, brings its innovations to the marketplace through technology licensing, new products, and spin-off ventures. Government and business clients come to SRI for pioneering R&D and solutions in computing and communications, chemistry and materials, education, energy, health and pharmaceuticals, national defense, robotics, sensing, and more.
Visit SRI's website and Timeline of Innovation to learn more about SRI.

SOURCE SRI International
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