SCRA Technology Ventures Company Signs Research Agreement

  • May 6, 2015
  • Press Releases

FirstString Research Signs Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

Summerville, SC - SCRA Technology Ventures' SC Launch Portfolio Company, FirstString Research, has recently signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), part of the National Institutes of Health, through NCATS' Bridging Interventional Development Gaps program.

FirstString was founded on technology based on the regenerative capabilities of a short regulatory peptide (ACT1) that was originally discovered at the Medical University of South Carolina. This CRADA is based on the development of a connexin-based peptide therapeutic, ACT1, as a topical ophthalmic therapy for the treatment of diabetic keratopathy and persistent corneal defects. The goal is to develop an optimized ACT1 topical ophthalmic drug formulation, and conduct pre-clinical enabling studies in preparation for clinical trials.

"We are excited to work with the project team at NCATS to further optimize our ophthalmic ACT1 formulation. The research completed under this CRADA will pave the way for human clinical evaluation and has the potential to address the medical needs of an expanding diabetic population." said Dr. Gautam S. Ghatnekar, President and CEO of FirstString Research. "Furthermore, the resulting ACT1 formulation will be useful in the treatment of corneal injuries resulting from military engagement or corneal epithelial damage obtained during cataract or corneal refractive surgery."

"We are delighted to support FirstString as they continue their progress in the regenerative medicine market," said SCRA CEO Bill Mahoney. "It is promising emerging companies like FirstString that are shaping our state's technology-base and job creation."

About SCRA and SCRA Technology Ventures

SCRA Technology Ventures enables research commercialization and promotes the development of high tech industries, enhancing South Carolina's technology-based economy. Through its flagship SC Launch program, this SCRA business sector makes investments in and offers supports services to South Carolina's early stage, start-up technology companies.

Multiple economic impact studies show SCRA's cumulative output on South Carolina's economy to be over $18.1 billion, and that the company has helped create approximately 15,000 technology-related jobs in the state, with annual wages averaging between $55,000 and $77,000.

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