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Cleveland BioLabs gets grant

The grant money keeps rolling in to Cleveland BioLabs.

The Buffalo-based life sciences firm, which announced last week that it had won more than $2.7 million in new funding, said Tuesday that it has been awarded a $5.3 million grant for further research on developing one of its drugs that could ease the side effects of radiation exposure.

The latest grant from the National Institute of Health uses federal stimulus funds to pay for studies into how the Cleveland BioLabs drug Protectan CBLB502 reduces the gastrointestinal damage caused by radiation exposure.

Andrei Gudkov, Cleveland BioLabs' chief scientific officer, said the grant will further the company's efforts to win approval for the drug's use as a treatment for exposure to high doses of radiation. Much of that research initially is aimed at developing the drug for use by soldiers exposed to radiation on the battlefield.

The grant also will advance its longer-term research aimed at winning regulatory approval for the drug's use by civilians to ease radiation damage to the gastrointestinal system caused by medical treatments, such as chemotherapy, he said. That medical market, while years away, is potentially much larger than the military market.

"This grant will go a ways to start the medical studies for 502," said Rachel Levine, a Cleveland BioLabs spokeswoman.

Simos Simeonidis, an analyst at Rodman & Renshaw, said the grant was "continued validation for Cleveland Bio-Labs' radiation antidote." The New York City-based investment banking firm initiated coverage of Cleveland BioLabs' stock Tuesday with a "market outperform" rating on the shares, which rose 11 percent, or 37 cents, to $3.87.

Some of the research will be done by Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, along with the Cleveland Clinic, the University of Illinois at Chicago and North Carolina-based biotechnology company Attagene.

Cleveland BioLabs earlier this year completed the first phase of safety tests on healthy human volunteers to determine potential side effects and dosage limits for Protectan.

A second, larger safety study on healthy human volunteers is expected to be conducted in the near future. The drug also has been tested extensively on nonhuman primates.

e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

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