Elex Biotech Awarded NIH Small Business Grant to Develop Drugs to Treat Heart Arrhythmias

Portland, Oregon, November 7, 2014 — Elex Biotech, LLC, a biotech firm with ties to Portland State University (PSU), has received a two-year grant for over $1.4 Million from the National Institutes of Health. The grant will help support development of new drug compounds for the treatment of heart arrhythmias in catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT), an often-fatal inherited disorder. Episodes of CPVT often begin in childhood, but the disease can go undetected; sometimes the first episode can lead to the sudden death of a young athlete on the playing field as physical exertion triggers an irregular heartbeat. Elex has developed a unique approach toward anti-arrhythmic drug development. The company’s lead compounds decrease an abnormal calcium leak in heart muscle, eliminating arrhythmias in animal models of CPVT.

“We are very pleased to have this support from the National Institutes of Health to continue our important work addressing cardiac arrhythmias,” said Elex Biotech co-founder Jonathan Abramson. “CPVT is a devastating disease. Treatment with drug compounds that directly corrects the suspected cause of the disease has the potential to reduce the number of arrhythmias and cardiac arrests in these patients.”

Elex envisions that its lead compound has potential as a therapy in CPVT and other arrhythmogenic cardiovascular diseases, and has plans to expand its discovery program to address them. The grant involves active collaboration with Jonathan Abramson and Robert Strongin of PSU, Xander Wehrens of Baylor College of Medicine and Guy Salama of the University of Pittsburgh.

About Elex Biotech, LLC

ELEX Biotech is a drug development company, developing small molecule pharmaceutical drugs for management and cure of cardiovascular diseases (arrhythmias, heart failure) and diseases of excitable tissues (myopathies). The company is a spin-out from Portland State University, based on technology from the Departments of Physics and Chemistry. The company engages in research and development and is based in the Portland State University Business Accelerator at 2828 S.W. Corbett Ave., Portland, Oregon 97201.

The Phase II award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is part of the Small Business Technology Transfer Program of the NIH. Research reported in this release is supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, under Award Number R42HL114206. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

CONTACT: Sandra Shotwell, Ph.D., Managing Partner

(503) 348-0855 or sandra.shotwell@gmail.com


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