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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

BARDA Supports Proof-Of-Concept Studies for Small Molecule Development

Date: August 22, 2013

Company:  BCN Biosciences, headquartered in Pasadena, Calif.

Cooperative agreement amount: BARDA will contribute $4 million over two years

About the cooperative agreement: Through this cooperative agreement, BARDA will fund and collaborate on proof-of-concept studies by BCN Biosciences to determine how well a novel small molecule called Yel002, created by the company, protects DNA from damage after the body’s cells are exposed to damaging levels of radiation. This approach may increase the likelihood that cells in the gastrointestinal injury will survive exposure to acute radiation.

The GI tract is particularly sensitive to radiation but currently there is no treatment or preventive measure for this type of ionizing (damaging) radiation injury.

Acute Radiation Syndrome, also known as ARS, is a serious illness that occurs when all or most of the body receives a high dose of radiation, such as after the detonation of a nuclear device. ARS involves injuries to the body’s organs, including the bone marrow, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and lungs. Survival in the first weeks following a mass casualty incident depends primarily on the extent of injury to bone marrow and the GI tract.

Use of the molecule will be studied as a possible treatment for adults and children under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Animal Efficacy Rule.

Yel002 is the fourth product in BARDA’s development portfolio to treat GI-ARS. GI-ARS products are the latest in BARDA’s portfolio of medical countermeasures being developed to treat acute radiation syndrome injury.

The molecule also has a potential use in cancer treatment.

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  • This page last reviewed: April 28, 2017