SRI wins $57M fed avian-flu contract

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SRIMENLO PARK, Calif., Nov. 7 (UPI) -- SRI International said Tuesday it has been awarded a $56.9 million U.S. government contract to develop avian-flu drugs and antibodies.

The company said the contract -- awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health -- is "to provide preclinical services for the development of drugs and antibodies for anti-infective therapeutics."

Under the deal, SRI will provide five years of support for the development of treatments for avian flu, SARS, West Nile virus, hepatitis, and biodefense pathogens and toxins.

Among the tasks SRI will perform under the agreement are medicinal chemistry, custom drug synthesis, formulation, analytical chemistry, clinical manufacturing, microbiology and virology screening, pharmacokinetics, safety testing, and filing investigational new drug applications with the Food and Drug Administration.

"We are very excited to have won this important contract, which further establishes SRI as one of the foremost anti-infective contract research organizations in the United States," said Jon Mirsalis, managing director of SRI's biosciences division and the program's principal investigator. "This major project, coupled with SRI's basic research groups, demonstrates SRI's capabilities to take projects from idea to IND stage."

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