Marine biotechnology is a growing field in Wilmington. One of the leaders is MARBIONC - a program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington - that develops and markets new products. One of their latest discoveries, a potential medication derived from algae, has just been approved for further testing.
It’s called Brevenal. Developed by UNCW - MARBIONC (Marine Biotechnology in North Carolina) researchers. It was just awarded Orphan Drug status for the treatment of Cystic Fibrosis.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration assigns that status to those drugs not developed by the pharmaceutical industry for economic reasons, but which respond to a public health need.
The drug status was awarded to Silurian Pharmaceuticals. Silurian Pharmaceuticals in California has licensed the drug from UNCW, now that it’s ready to transfer to industry for development.
Daniel Baden is the Executive Principal at MARBIONC.
“It's a molecule that we describe from a marine microbiology called Karenia brevis. Brevenal is a molecule that causes mucus to thin and has anti-inflammatory properties. Both properties that we had postulated would be useful for the treatment of cystic fibrosis and other called Mucociliary diseases, things that caused thick rope mucus.”
Research began a few years ago, Baden says, through a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
“And for us more than anything it means, the work that we do is actually translating into therapeutics for humans. So to treat diseases that are presently not totally treatable to help the American public, all the things that you want to do with federal money.”
Silurian hopes to launch Phase 1 clinical studies of the drug on humans next year.
Learn more about SILURIAN
Learn more about MARBIONC