CORVALLIS - A New York biotechnology company which uses innovative new technologies to prevent and treat infectious diseases will soon establish a new research laboratory in Corvallis.
Officials of SIGA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today the new facility would begin operation as an independent lab and research facility here by June 1. The lab will be located in an existing building within the Corvallis Research Park and is expected to employ nearly 25 scientists and support personnel by the end of the year.
"This new research laboratory represents a significant effort to discover and develop new vaccines and antibiotics against emerging and resistant infectious diseases," said David deWeese, chief executive officer of SIGA. "Bacterial resistance to many conventional antibiotics is growing at alarming rates. It is important to identify and evaluate new technologies that address this worldwide threat.
"The new facility strengthens and combines the acknowledged microbiology expertise at Oregon State University with SIGA's own in-house capabilities."
Dennis Hruby, one of the company's founders and a professor of microbiology at OSU, will direct the new laboratory. He will continue part-time scholarly work on campus. Hruby is nationally known for his work in exploring new vaccines for strep throat. For the past two years, he has served as a scientific adviser to SIGA and has supervised research work done in partnership at OSU.
"A close relationship between SIGA and the university will speed the development of SIGA's technologies, " Hruby said. "It will increase SIGA's opportunities for commercial success and provide the university with long-term support for its research programs, and create employment opportunities for OSU graduates."
The university jointly owns and licenses some of the intellectual property used by SIGA Pharmaceuticals. OSU, Rockefeller University and Emory University also share in any royalties which come from the products incorporating the technologies.
SIGA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (SGPH on NASDAQ) is engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of novel products for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, including new vaccines and antibiotics. The company has four lead programs in development, including a gram-positive commensal vectors for the delivery of mucosal vaccines; mucosal vaccines against strep throat and periodontal disease; the discovery and development of new antibiotics based on novel targets; and Surface Protein Expression System (SPEX) for cost-effective mass production of proteins.