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Kathera Bioscience Inc. Receives $298,530 SBIR Grant to Advance Novel Antifungal Technology

UNION, N.J. — June 21, 2021 — Kathera Bioscience Inc., a startup located within the Institute for Life Science Entrepreneurship (ILSE) at Kean University has received a $298,530 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program to develop a new class of broad-spectrum antifungal drugs to combat emerging and drug-resistant fungal infections.

“The scientific and business team at KatheraBio assembled a very strong scientific rationale and developed an outstanding research and development approach that together represent a unique opportunity to address the growing unmet medical need for countering fungal infections,” said Keith Bostian, ILSE CEO and acting CEO of KatheraBio.

KatheraBio is focused on developing therapies to treat fungal infections, a major cause of global human disease with an estimated 11.5 million annual life-threatening infections globally, resulting in more than 1.5 million deaths. The one-year SBIR award will support research to develop small molecule chemical inhibitors of an essential fungal target with a unique mode of action, leading to a new class of antifungal drugs.

“We are excited to receive our first SBIR grant and appreciate the NIAID’s and NIH’s support of efforts to discover and develop new antifungal drugs. This important seed funding enables us to advance the technology further and work toward securing additional financial support,” said Stephen Parent, KatheraBio’s founder and vice president of business strategy and development. “This critical research will explore specific fungal enzyme targets for which there are no FDA-approved drugs on the market.”

Located in the STEM Building on Kean University’s Union campus and incubated at ILSE with scientific and business development support, KatheraBio is founded on technology from SUNY-Upstate Medical University. KatheraBio is focused on a novel, first-in-class therapy that is distinct from the four current classes of antifungal drugs on the market. The drug candidates are being designed to inhibit a novel target and overcome the limitations of existing therapies such as toxicity, drug-to-drug interactions, inconvenient dosing and increasing incidence of resistance.

“This SBIR award represents a significant step toward developing new antifungal drugs based on fundamental basic science we have discovered,” said Steven Hanes, professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University and co-founder of the company. “It is a great example of a partnership between industry and academics, promoted by the NIH, that is worth much more than the sum of its parts.”

For more information about Kathera Bioscience Inc. and ILSE, visit http://katherabio.com/ or https://ilsebio.com/.

About Institute for Life Science Entrepreneurship
The Institute for Life Science Entrepreneurship (ILSE) at Kean University is a non-profit organization located in Union, N.J., USA. Located in Kean’s STEM building, ILSE provides incubator space and accelerator services to life science companies and is also a science-driven research institute working in partnership with major academic, non-profit, and corporate organizations, and with entrepreneurs and regional institutions. ILSE’s American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) Center for Translational Microbiology focuses on research in microbiome, advanced microbial genomics, clinical multi-drug resistance, and bioinformatics. Visit https://ilsebio.com/

About Kean University

Founded in 1855, Kean University is one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving more than 16,000 students. The University’s six undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers six doctoral degree programs and more than 80 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union, Toms River, Jefferson and Manahawkin, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education. Visit www.kean.edu

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