Infectious diseases such as cholera, influenza, malaria, and drug-resistant tuberculosis affect millions worldwide. SRI Biosciences is a leading provider of preclinical development services for anti-infective therapeutics and vaccines. We hold the contracts with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for preclinical safety, pharmacokinetics and clinical manufacturing of anti-infectives, and safety, immunogenicity, and IND preparation for HIV vaccines, making SRI the largest government program for the development of anti-infectives. We also work with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and numerous private biotechnology companies on the development of vaccines and anti-infective therapeutics.
We bring a wealth of experience and diverse scientific interests to our mission of creating improved diagnostics, prophylactics, and therapeutics for a wide range of rare and neglected diseases and tropical diseases and infectious and biological threat agents. Capabilities include medicinal and synthetic chemistry; in vitro assay development; and in vitro and in vivo drug efficacy screening against toxins and bacterial, viral, and parasitic diseases (including CDC select agents) up to Biosafety Level 3 (BSL3) containment.
SRI Biosciences' Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases studies insect-borne viruses, respiratory and diarrheal pathogens, and parasitic protozoa. Examples include West Nile fever, dengue fever, tuberculosis, Leishmaniasis, and malaria.
- Drug discovery
- Medicinal chemistry
- Testing of vaccines, therapies, and insecticides
- Testing of new formulations and alternative delivery methods
- Development of diagnostic tests
Tropical Diseases Research
Tropical diseases caused by protozoan parasites such as Leishmania, Trypanosoma cruzi, and Plasmodium pose a massive, global public health burden. To develop more effective therapeutics, diagnostics, and control strategies for the diseases they cause, SRI strives to understand the biology of these pathogens and how these parasites interact with the human host and vector. Facilities and capabilities include a state-of-the-art BSL3-certified, temperature-controlled insectory, high-throughput screening, cell and molecular imaging, and multicolor digital flow cytometry.
Antimalarial Therapeutic Development
Malaria results in more than 300 million clinical cases and about one million deaths yearly. SRI's research goal is to promote antimalarial therapeutic development to combat this deadly disease. Our strategy comprises two approaches:
Drug and vaccine target discovery: A majority of the Plasmodium genome is currently annotated to code for hypothetical proteins with unknown functions, posing a strategic hurdle to rationalized drug and vaccine development. It is imperative to understand the functions and essentiality of these hypothetical proteins to greatly accelerate the identification of novel drug or vaccine targets. Through a forward genetic approach using transposon mutagenesis, we are deciphering the functions of these hypothetical proteins and pinpointing the crucial pathways in the disease-causing human blood stages of P. falciparum.
SRI is particularly interested in identifying new targets in critical biological processes, such as gene expression and cell cycle regulation, which are largely uncharacterized in Plasmodium. We are also interested in employing a genome engineering strategy to identify the parasite’s genes obligatory for blood-stage development and hence the most promising as antimalarial drug targets.
Lead compound discovery: By employing a high-throughput in vitro screening methodology, SRI is screening chemical libraries for activity against P. falciparum, and identifying potential leads for optimization and preclinical studies.
SRI Biosciences develops, performs, and validates assays to evaluate the efficacy of small molecules, antibodies, and other therapeutics against a wide variety of BSL-2 and BSL-3 pathogenic viruses of public health and biodefense concern.
We work with a wide variety of BSL-2 and BSL-3 pathogenic viruses to test novel, potentially broad-spectrum compounds against Dengue virus, Hantaan virus, Venezuelan Equinine Encephalitis (VEE) virus, Influenza virus, and Arenaviruses. We also perform a wide variety of assays to test the efficacy of small molecules, antibodies, and immune serum against pathogenic viruses. We use a multi-virus high-throughput screening platform (M-VAP) that enables simultaneous screening of potential new anti-infective agent libraries against a wide variety of viruses.
SRI Biosciences researches mosquitoes (the most important global vectors of pathogens to humans) and bed bugs. Two species of mosquitoes are of primary focus: Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, as they transmit the viruses responsible for dengue fever and Chikungunya virus. We also study how to detect bed bugs using their own molecules as footprints. We are also investigating the foam that the female praying mantis uses to protect her eggs, and how this foam could yield waterproof, biodegradable materials with medical applications.