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Southern Research Signs Agreement with Apath, LLC to Conduct Preclinical Studies with Virus-Based HCV Screenings
Date:4/25/2012

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Southern Research today announced that it has signed an agreement with Apath, LLC  which will allow Southern Research to conduct laboratory testing, research, and/or screening of potential therapeutic agents for hepatitis C (HCV) on an exclusive, fee-for-service basis using Apath's HCV virus-based technology.

Apath—a privately held technology company focusing on HCV and other human viral pathogens—was founded by Charles M. Rice, Ph.D., Professor at The Rockefeller University and formerly of the Washington University School of Medicine.

"Preclinical screening using a virus-based system will advance potential treatments for the disease because new therapies for HCV will be screened against the actual virus rather than a subset of the replication machinery," said Andrew D. Penman, Ph.D. vice president of Drug Development at Southern Research. "We are very pleased to work with Dr. Rice, a world renowned HCV expert and offer this new service to our clients."

Most preclinical drug screening for new HCV therapies use cell lines that harbor replicons—intracellular sub-genomic, self-replicating RNA molecules that contain the nucleotide sequences required for RNA replication, transcription, and translation, but are not themselves infectious.

Using a virus-based system, researchers can now develop antiviral treatments targeting viral entry into the cell, all of the replication machinery of the replicon, as well as downstream events such as viral assembly and release from the cell. As such, the entire viral life cycle is available for drug discovery and development.

"Successful treatment for chronic hepatitis C, given HCV diversity and the spectrum of disease, is likely to require combination therapy and new drugs well beyond those already a
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SOURCE Southern Research Institute
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