Aphios Awarded SBIR Grant from NIH for Development of Natural Marine Anti-Plaque Compound
October 10, 2000
Woburn, MA— Aphios Corporation has been awarded a Phase I SBIR grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), National Institutes of Health (NIH), for development of a Marine Anti-Plaque Compound.

Epidemiological surveys indicate that an average of 50% of the adult population of the United States has gingivitis and that gingivitis can lead to a number of life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease. Most anti-plaque compounds, e.g. triclosan, chlorhexidine and fluorine, are halogenated. Marine microorganisms, which can generate compounds that integrate halogens such as fluorine, chlorine and bromine, can thus be an important natural resource for the discovery of genetically unique anti-plaque compounds.

Aphios Corporation has developed a unique collection of marine microorganisms isolated from diverse organisms and extremeophilic environments such as: marine invertebrates including bryozoans, sponges, corals and tunicates; deep sea sediments and shallow mangrove swamps; hypersaline ponds; hydrothermal vents; marine vertebrates like fish and shark; tropical and temperate oceans; and plants, including macroalgae.

Through screening of its marine molecules library for anti-plaque activity against microbes relevant to the flora of the oral cavity, Aphios has discovered and identified several anti-plaque secreting marine microorganisms with excellent oral inhibitory and bactericidal activity. There is currently no truly efficacious anti-gingivitis product that is both convenient to use and appealing to the consumer. Aphios will focus on the isolation and identification of the active ingredients of this discovery to develop a natural marine product that is effective and substantive against dental plaque. In this research effort, Aphios will collaborate with renowned scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Research leading to this discovery was an outgrowth of a multi-year, multi-million R&D program focused on the discovery and development of therapeutics and industrial chemicals from marine microorganisms. This R&D program was partially funded by an Advanced Technology Program grant from the National Institute of Standards and Testing (NIST), Department of Commerce.

Aphios Corporation is a "green" biopharmaceutical company, which is developing enhanced natural therapeutics for health maintenance and the treatment of human diseases with a focus on CNS, cancer and infectious diseases.