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Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals Awarded $3.9 Million RO1 NIH Grant to Advance Innovative Hepatitis Program

MILFORD, Mass., May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals today announced it has been awarded an RO1 grant from the National Institute of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for the development of SB 9200, a novel, orally bioavailable agent for the treatment of Hepatitis B virus infection.  

Under the terms of this award, Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals will receive $3.9 million over five years in support of its development efforts.  This is the fourth Federally funded grant award Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals has received in support of it's Small Nucleic Acid Hybrid (SMNH) technology and brings the Company's total Federal support to more than $12 million.

"We are very pleased to receive this important grant award from the NIH to further develop SB 9200 for the treatment of Hepatitis B virus infections," said Douglas Jensen, CEO of Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals. " Hepatitis B infection is very widespread and has proven to be a very difficult disease to treat.  The NIH has made it clear that new types of drugs to treat Hepatitis B, such as SB 9200, are urgently needed."  According to R. P. Iyer, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals, "The NIH support for our HBV program validates our novel approach to treat this widespread disease.  SB 9200 holds great promise because it is a new class of potent orally bioavailable drug that works by an entirely novel mechanism of action and has demonstrated an excellent safety profile in a battery of in vitro and in vivo toxicology studies."

About Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B virus ("HBV") infects roughly one-third of the world's population, or more than two billion people. Of these, about 350 million become chronically infected, leading to progressive liver disease and approximately one million deaths each year.  Chronic infection with HBV can lead to the development of hepatocellular carcinoma ("HCC"), which has a five-year survival rate of less than 5%. Worldwide, there are about 1.2 million new cases of HCC annually, including about 15,000 in the US.

Despite the development of numerous antiviral drugs for HBV and HCV, effective treatment of hepatitis remains a substantially unmet medical need.  New treatment options are needed because current therapies do not eradicate the infection, suffer from the emergence of resistance and are poorly tolerated by many patients. SB 9200 is a potential breakthrough drug for the treatment of Hepatitis B because it has both direct antiviral and immune stimulating activities and acts via a novel host target. Further, SB 9200 is delivered orally, is well tolerated and can be used in combination with other classes of antivirals. By virtue of unique mechanism of action, SB 9200 is also being developed as novel treatment for Hepatitis C virus infection.

About Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals

Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals is an IND-stage drug discovery company. Based on our proprietary platform technology, we are developing a pipeline of products representing a new class of pharmaceuticals, called Small Molecule Nucleic Acid Hybrids (SMNH) which have a wide range of therapeutic applications having multi-billion dollar market potential.

The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases or the National Institutes of Health.

Contact: Don Mitchell (508) 473-5993 ext.102

SOURCE Spring Bank Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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