Triplex Pharmaceutical Corp. was awarded three grants by theNIH to evaluate a new class of pharmaceuticals called triplexcompounds that exert a therapeutic effect by modifying geneexpression.

Triplex compounds are modified oligonucleotides that aredesigned to prevent the body from producing disease-causingproteins by interfering with transcription. Triplex of TheWoodlands, Texas, is developing such compounds as potentialtreatments for viral infections, cancer and cardiovasculardisease.

The first of the three Phase I, $50,000 grants will fundresearch to evaluate the anti-viral activity of certain triplexcompounds designed to provide a new treatment for infectionscaused by the herpes simplex virus. The other two grants arefunding studies of nucleic acid chemical modifications of triplexcompounds, which the company believes will further enhancethe binding affinity and specificity of the compounds indevelopment.

The grants are funded by the U.S. Public Health Service throughthe Small Business Innovation Research Program.

Founded in late 1989 with initial backing from Hillman MedicalVentures, Triplex has raised $19 million of venture funding. Itsigned its first corporate partnership last January, a five-yearagreement with Germany's Hoechst A.G. for the development ofanti-viral drugs using Triplex's technology. The agreement ispotentially worth up to $30 million.

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.