Mesa Science Associates Receives Grant to Begin Study of a Treatment for Marfan Syndrome
Mesa Science Associates Inc. (MSA) received a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research Grant (SBIR) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) entitled “Development of Cobinamide as a Novel Treatment for Aortic Aneurysms of Marfan Syndrome: Phase I Pharmacokinetic Studies.”
Upon receiving this notification, Mr. Michael Mesa, President of MSA, “stated that this grant results from a long-term relationship between MSA researchers and Dr. Jerry Boss, a highly regarded researcher at the University of California San Diego (UCSD).” Mr. Mesa also indicated that MSA Chief Science Officer Kenneth Dretchen, Ph.D., will lead the effort at MSA. The MSA team will collaborate with the UCSD laboratory run by Dr. Boss and other outside laboratories to complete the studies performed under this grant. Mr. Mesa also stated “that while MSA has participated in the past as a subcontractor on NIH projects, this is the first NIH grant in which MSA will be the lead laboratory. We at MSA are proud and excited to be part of such an exciting and important project.”
Dr. Dretchen explained the goals of the studies to be conducted under this grant as follows:
“Marfan Syndrome is associated with progressive weakening of large blood vessels leading to a rupture of a major artery such as the aorta, which is fatal. The damage to the blood vessels is associated with oxidative stress, caused by the presence of free radicals containing oxygen in the tissue. Cobinamide is a drug that has significant anti-oxidative properties. This SBIR Phase 1 Study will evaluate four Cobinamide derivatives with slightly different chemical structures. The goal will be to determine which molecules have the greatest absorption when administered orally and whether absorption occurs in the stomach or the intestine. The studies will be critically important in designing the appropriate oral dosage formulation. In addition, these studies will determine how long the drug remains at sufficient levels in the body, which is important in determining how often the drug must be administered.”
The data obtained from the above Phase I studies will provide the basis for the Phase II studies, which will involve the design of a specific oral formulation and establish the drug’s long-term safety.
MSA hopes to file for the Phase II part of this grant in early January. These NIH-funded studies will hopefully lead to the first-in-human studies of this drug and its effect on Marfan Syndrome.
Mesa Science Associates Inc. is a veteran-owned small business located within the Frederick Innovation and Technology Center 4539 Metropolitan Ct. in Frederick, Md.