Therapy for Drug Resistant Influenza Strains by Nucleic Acid Targeting of Respiratory Airways
Award last edited on: 4/3/2019

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code

Principal Investigator
Charles Houston Jones

Company Information

Abcombi Biosciences Inc

303 Furnas Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260
   (919) 619-6772

Research Institution


Phase I

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Antiviral drugs are a crucial countermeasure for influenza A virus (IAV), particularly in circumstances of increased IAV incidence or if a vaccine is unavailable (e.g., virulent H5N1 IAV). However, the emergence of IAV strains that are resistant to current antivirals1-6 (H5N1) underscores the need for new treatment strategies, particularly those that modify the host response. IAVs infect 5-20% of the US population with >200,000 hospitalizations and ~40,000 deaths annually. Morbidity and mortality are secondary to an intense systemic stress to the antiviral immune response particularly in those individuals with co-morbidities (i.e., chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases). Additionally, endemic IAV strains from other species (e.g., H5N1) can kill healthy individuals by a “cytokine storm”. The emergence of pandemic strains is inevitable, as seen most recently with 2009 H1N1. Moreover, IAV’s ability to rapidly acquire increased virulence and efficient human-to- human transmission through genetic shift is a constant threat to the global population, and benign strains may rapidly evolve and cause severe morbidity and mortality. This application proposes to develop for use in patients a novel therapeutic gene knockdown strategy localized to respiratory epithelium by employing nanoplexes, an electrostatic complex of cationic polymers and anionic nucleic acids. Our preliminary findings have demonstrated that this antiviral therapy, inhibits IAV replication, decreases IAV induced lung injury and improves antibacterial host responses. This Phase I STTR application will optimize the fabrication and delivery of the nanoplexes and establish its in vitro efficacy (with respect to antiviral and IFN I stimulating activity) and toxicity. The subsequent Phase II STTR application will determine its in vivo efficacy and toxicity in mice and ferrets utilizing drug-resistant laboratory, epidemic, pandemic, and pathogenic strains.

Public Health Relevance Statement:
PROJECT NARRATIVE The proposed STTR Phase I project will test the effectiveness of RNA delivery for therapeutic applications in influenza treatment. Success will be the basis for a Phase II application dedicated to expanded assessment and scaled production of a potential new therapy for influenza.

Project Terms:
Anti-Bacterial Agents; anti-influenza; Antiviral Agents; Antiviral Response; Antiviral Therapy; Bacterial Pneumonia; base; Benign; Biocompatible; Cardiovascular Diseases; Cell Line; Cessation of life; Charge; Chitosan; Chronic; Comorbidity; Complex; cytokine; Cytosol; design; Disease; Drug resistance; drug resistant influenza; Eating; Ebola virus; Effectiveness; Electrostatics; Epidemic; Ferrets; flu; Formulation; Genes; Genetic; Genetic Transcription; Goals; Guidelines; Hospitalization; Human; Immune; Immune response; improved; In Vitro; in vivo; Incidence; Individual; Infection; Influenza; Influenza A virus; Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype; Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype; Interferon Type I; Interferons; IRF3 gene; Killings; knock-down; Laboratories; Ligands; Lung diseases; lung injury; Messenger RNA; Morbidity - disease rate; mortality; mRNA Transcript Degradation; Mus; nano; nanoparticle; Nonstructural Protein; novel; novel therapeutics; Nucleic Acids; pandemic disease; Patients; Phase; Phase I Clinical Trials; Polymers; Population; Production; Resistance; resistant strain; respiratory; response; Risk; RNA; Safety; Secondary to; sensor; Signal Transduction; Small Business Technology Transfer Research; small hairpin RNA; Stress; Structure of respiratory epithelium; success; Surface; Testing; Therapeutic; therapeutic gene; Time; TLR3 gene; Toxic effect; transmission process; treatment strategy; TRIM25 gene; Ubiquitination; Vaccines; Vent; Viral; Viral Proteins; viral RNA; Virulence; Virulence Factors; Virulent; Virus Diseases; Virus Replication

Phase II

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