Dynavax Technologies Corporation has announced the receipt of a two-year Small Business Innovation Research grant (SBIR) for $600,000.
The Award is provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and will be used to fund research to characterize the role of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) in preclinical models of skin autoimmune inflammation.
Scientists at Dynavax have shown that PI3K is required for the production of type I interferon (IFN) by plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDC) in response to TLR7 or TLR9 stimulation (Journal of Experimental Medicine 2008).
In subsequent studies, the chronic activation of PDC and the IFN that they produced was shown to play a role in skin autoimmune inflammation (Journal of Experimental Medicine 2010), which makes PI3k an attractive target for skin diseases such as psoriasis, cutaneous lupus, and dermatomyositis.
"This new grant supports preclinical studies focused on this key component of the TLR signaling pathway as a target for the treatment of inflammatory skin disorders. This work could well be complementary to our GSK development partnership focused on TLR inhibitors," commented Robert L. Coffman, Ph.D., Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Dynavax.