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Humanetics to test new drug’s ability to prevent cardiac damage from space radiation

(10 October 2017 - Humanetics) Minneapolis-based Humanetics Corporation (Humanetics) has been awarded a small business innovation research (SBIR) grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to evaluate the capability of Humanetics’s investigational drug, BIO 300, to prevent radiation damage to human cardiac tissue.

This research will be conducted in collaboration with Dr. Lynnette Cary at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI) in Bethesda, Maryland.

The research will test BIO 300’s ability to protect cardiac tissues against mixed fields of neutron and gamma radiation in an effort to simulate space-type radiation events. Effects on cardiac function is of special interest to NASA, as data from astronauts who took part in NASA’s Apollo missions indicate that chronic exposure to radiation in space is associated with a higher incidence of degenerative cardiac medical conditions. Protection against space radiation is required to enable long-duration missions in space, including a manned-trip to Mars.

The grant will fund research at AFRRI. AFRRI’s mission includes development of measures to prevent, assess and treat radiation injury. AFRRI is a center of excellence in this type of research and is one of only a handful of facilities in the world that can conduct scientific and medical research using mixed fields of radiation.

BIO 300 was originally developed as a radioprotectant by researchers at AFRRI and the National Institutes of Health. It was licensed to Humanetics Corporation, which is leading the drug’s further development. BIO 300 is currently in a Phase Ib/IIa clinical trial in lung cancer patients being treated with radiation and chemotherapy. This trial is assessing the drug’s ability to protect the lungs of these patients from the side effects caused by the radiation used to combat tumors.

“We are very excited that NASA sees the potential of BIO 300 as a drug that can be used to protect their astronauts,” said Ronald J. Zenk, CEO of Humanetics Corporation. “NASA represents a small market for BIO 300, but this research also benefits terrestrial uses of the drug ranging from cancer patients to the protection of warfighters and civilians at risk of radiation accidents and threats.”

About Humanetics Corporation

Humanetics Corporation is a clinical-stage specialty pharmaceutical company engaged in the accelerated discovery, development and commercialization of proprietary drugs in markets with urgent and unmet needs, with a focus on radiation modulators for oncology and medical countermeasure uses.