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BIOGEN IS ONLY INDUSTRY MEMBER AMONG 11 PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS AWARDED GRANTS FOR AIDS RESEARCH BY NIAID; EIGHT OTHER DRUG FIRMS PARTICIPATING

Executive Summary

Biogen's director of molecular biology, Richard Fisher, PhD, is one of 11 principal investigators receiving a grant for AIDS research by the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Biogen, which will work with researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, received the grant under the institute's National Cooperative Drug Discovery Group (NCDDG) program for AIDS research, a collaborative initative between industry, academia and the government. "Biogen has synthesized a modified soluble form of the T-4 receptor (recombinant soluble T4)," the firm said in a press release announcing the award. Massachusetts General is currently testing samples of recombinant soluble T4 for its ability to inhibit the AIDS virus in vitro, according to the firm. Eight other drug companies are participating in the research program as partners in research groups led by investigators from academia. The 11 new NCDDG awards represent a total of $10.3 mil. per year in funding. The groups are funded for either three- or five-year periods. Including five grants awarded in 1986, the 11 new grants bring to $68 mil. the total projected funding for the program from 1987 through 1992. The NCDDG-AIDS program was initiated last year. Other principal investigators receiving funding in the latest round of awards include: Michael Chirigos, PhD, U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, Fort Detrick; Stephen Byrn, PhD, Purdue University; Miles Cloyd, PhD, University of Texas Medical Branch; David Rekosh, PhD, State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine; and Roy Steigbigel, MD, State University of New York at Stonybrook School of Medicine. NIAID issued another request for NCDDG-AIDS research applications on Sept. 25. According to an institute release, the new request contains provisions for "projects targeting the development of treatments for the opportunistic infections associated with AIDS." The most recent request also redefines its "core component" designation -- laboratory facilities for equipment and services that are shared by two or more projects of the Group -- "so that more routine research areas such as toxicology, pharmacology, and screening studies may be part of the Group." Chart omitted.

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