Encore Pharmaceuticals Inc., a California-based biotechnology company, has received a $100,000 Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from the National Institute on Aging. The grant will support collaborative research and development in the field of neuroinflammation between Encore and Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Kenneth Hensley, Ph.D.
The award will fund focused research on molecular targets in experimental models of Huntington’s disease, a hereditary, degenerative brain disorder for which there is currently no effective treatment or cure. The grant will also support the expansion of discovery efforts for Huntington’s and other neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).
“These brain diseases are very similar in many ways,” said Hensley, who is also president of the Oklahoma chapter of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America. “We’re now developing small molecules for the treatment of ALS, and we hope to test these compounds in experimental models of Huntington’s disease as well.”
This is the second SBIR grant that will fund collaboration between Encore and OMRF. Last month, Encore received a Phase 2 SBIR award of $750,000 to support early pharmaceutical development of a lead drug candidate for ALS and Huntington’s. The molecule was identified in a previous collaboration between OMRF and ENcore under an SBIR Phase 1 award.
A privately owned biopharmaceutical research and development company with offices located in California and Ohio, Encore (www.encorepharma.com) is focused on the discovery and early development of proprietary technology in both the pharmaceutical and nutritional fields. Encore’s research and development of lead drug and product candidates is focused on treatment of the major disorders associated with aging such as metabolic syndrome, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and cardiovascular disease.
Chartered in 1946, OMRF (www.omrf.org) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and curing human disease. Its scientists focus on such critical research areas as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, lupus and cardiovascular disease. OMRF is home to Oklahoma’s only member of the National Academy of Sciences.