Plex Pharmaceuticals Awarded $600,000 Phase I NIH SBIR Grant to Develop Broad-Spectrum Antivirals to Treat Flavivirus Infections

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 Research News
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SAN DIEGO, Feb. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Plex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Plex"), today announced it has been awarded a $600,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop novel antiviral drug candidate(s) for the treatment of Dengue (DENV) fever, West Nile Virus (WNV) and Zika Virus (ZKV) infections.  The funds will be used to optimize and develop the already identified lead candidate(s) for advancement into in-vivo proof of concept translational studies.  

"We will employ a rational structure-based lead optimization approach to 'tune-in' broad-spectrum antiviral activity to inhibit the flaviviral protease, NS3, which is essential for viral replication, and hence an attractive target for the treatment of the infections caused by these three viruses," said Dr. G. Sridhar Prasad, Principal Investigator of the program and Chief Scientific Officer of Plex.  "Receipt of this non-dilutive funding from the NIH further validates the scientific strength of our team in small-molecule drug development and demonstrates our capability to increase value for our stake holders," said Mr. Hoji Alimi, CEO of Plex.      

About Flavivirus Infections: The NIAID has classified DENV, WNV, and ZKV as Categories A and B Emerging Infectious Pathogens, representing the top two tiers posing the greatest risk to national security and public health.  These mosquito-borne viruses have been re-emerging with expanding geographical range, now accounting for 17% of infections worldwide. Approximately 400 million people are infected with DENV, causing 20,000 deaths each year.  With WNV outbreaks on the rise, it is now considered the most important causative agent of viral encephalitis worldwide.  The latest example of another re-emergence and expansion of mosquito-borne disease is the introduction of ZKV in the American continent.  Alarmingly, ZKV infection in pregnant women has been linked to debilitating birth defects, miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature birth.  The World Health Organization considers ZKV infection a significant enduring public health challenge requiring immediate action.  Currently, there is no specific therapeutic approach to treat infections caused by DENV, WNV and ZKV.   Therefore, there is an urgent unmet need to develop safe, effective and affordable treatments.

About Plex Pharmaceuticals: Plex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a subsidiary of Collidion Inc., is focused on improving the lives of patients diagnosed with complex degenerative diseases caused by protein misfolding.  Plex's core competencies are in the discovery of drug-like small molecules by utilizing its core technologies, including functional fragment screening and X-ray crystallography to rationally design and synthesize New Chemical Entities (NCEs).  Plex has several ongoing drug discovery programs to address unmet medical needs, including treatments for non-surgical cataracts, neurological disorders and infectious diseases.  The team at Plex has amassed decades of drug discovery experience in numerous drug discovery programs which have successfully produced multiple clinical candidates, including one FDA approved drug.  For more information, please visit or


William H. Watson, IIIVP Business


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SOURCE Plex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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