DOYLESTOWN >> The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County will receive $803,306 in grant funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) Office of Technology and Innovation.
The funding through the COVID-19 Vaccines, Treatments and Therapies (CV-VTT) program will support the advancement of vaccines, treatments, and therapies by qualified biotechnology entities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The PA Biotech Center is an important part of our region’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, ushering in some of the first diagnostic tests in Bucks County through on-site companies, as well as hosting a number of other entrepreneurs who are developing new drugs to manage this disease,” said State Senator Steve Santarsiero, who announced the grant. “This investment not only spurs economic growth to the area’s biotech sector, but will likely help save lives here and across the world.”
The Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, which manages the PA Biotech Center, was awarded $165,406 to continue work on a new compound that binds to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and prevents viral entry and promote it to human clinical trials. This could be the first small molecule drug for treatment of COVID-19.
The Blumberg Institute was also awarded $207,900 to conduct a study to determine if a small molecule, iminosugar, alone or in combination with Remdesivir or Favipiravir, has useful antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19.
The PA Biotech was awarded $430,000 to convert an under-used warehouse grade space in its complex into useful research and training space that will accelerate the pace of development of projects dealing with COVID-19 and related work. The 6,000-square-foot space will be used by several biotechnology companies, research projects, and trainees who will work on new therapeutics and diagnostics discovery science, as well as human phlebotomy for COVID-19.
“The PA Biotech Center has demonstrated that it can be a hub for numerous growth opportunities,” Sen. Santarsiero said. “I am very excited to work with the Center to help those opportunities become real jobs and new industries here.”
The PA Biotech Center is a non-profit, managed by the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, offering state-of-the-art laboratory and office space to research and biotechnology companies. The CV-VTT funds, which will be matched dollar for dollar with private funds, will enable the PA Biotech Center to respond to the explosive demand and immediate need for additional research to accommodate multiple COVID-19 treatment and therapy projects.
For more information on the CV-VTT program, visit the DCED website.