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Trana Discovery and Southern Research Institute Announce the First RNA-RNA High Throughput Drug Screening Assay Platform for HIV Antivirals
Date:9/17/2007

Collaboration validates unique HIV assay system that identifies potential

tRNA inhibitors

CARY, N.C. and BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Trana Discovery, a drug discovery company, today announced the development of a high throughput screening (HTS) assay for the identification of new compounds for the treatment of HIV. The HTS assay was developed in collaboration with Southern Research Institute, a research organization that conducts basic and applied preclinical drug research. This new assay gives pharmaceutical companies the ability to rapidly and efficiently screen vast libraries of compounds in order to identify those that interrupt the lifecycle of HIV through a novel mechanism of action -- the inhibition of transfer RNA (tRNA). This technology has the potential to discover new classes of medicines for the treatment of HIV that may overcome resistance mechanisms associated with current therapies.

To date in the U.S., about 30 drugs -- as single agents or as combination products -- for the treatment of HIV infections have been introduced by more than ten different companies. But collectively, these agents represent only five different classes working at just four different sites of action in the HIV replicative cycle. And despite the enhanced potency of the more recently introduced products, resistance continues to be a major challenge for managing patients with HIV.

There remains an unexploited target for antiretroviral drugs -- the disruption of human transfer RNA (tRNA) use by the virus during HIV replication. But until recently, several barriers, including the stability of the RNA-RNA binding during experimentation, had prevented exploration of tRNA as a drug target. Working in collaboration with Southern Research, Trana Discovery refined their technology to overcome those barriers in a HTS format, thus opening the way to discovery and development of HIV drugs that work by means of
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SOURCE Southern Research Institute
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