College of Pharmacy Partners with TNI BioTech to Develop New Drugs for Africa
WASHINGTON (May 21, 2013) Howard University College of Pharmacy has signed a multi-year agreement with TNI BioTech Inc., a Bethesda, Md., biotech firm that develops immunotherapy drugs to treat patients with chronic diseases, to assist in TNI BioTech's efforts to provide affordable health care and the development of pharmaceutical skills in Africa.
The College of Pharmacy currently has pharmacy projects in a number of African countries, including Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda.
The college will support the development of new and commercial delivery forms of low dose Naltrexone, a drug used to help people who have stopped drinking alcohol and opiates like heroin to continue to avoid drinking or using drugs, in the form of oral capsules and tables and topical creams.
TNI BioTech, Inc., believes that a low dose version of Naltrexone could be effective in treating HIV/AIDS, cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn's Disease and other autoimmune diseases. The college will also develop of commercial forms of Met-Enkephalin (MENK), a drug that enhances the immune system that TNI BioTech believes in combination with low dose Naltrexone could further help in treating the various diseases.
The college will also assist in clinical trials for the drugs in multiple African nations. If the trials prove effective, the College of Pharmacy's Center for Drug Research and Development will be in position to manufacture the drugs after they have received proper regulatory approval.
Joseph Fortunak, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences in the Howard University Department of Chemistry and the College of Pharmacy, will be the lead on the project.
College of Pharmacy Dean and Professor Anthony Wutoh, Ph.D., R.Ph., director of the Center for Minority Health Services Research and the Center of Excellence at Howard University College of Pharmacy, said he looks forward to the new relationship and working with TNI BioTech.
"We are very excited about the opportunity to collaborate with TNI BioTech to develop medications that may be effective in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, cancer and other disorders," Wutoh said. "We look forward to partnering further to provide our expertise in drug manufacturing, conduct of clinical trials and regulatory training for pharmaceutical development.
"We are especially pleased to provide support to assist nations in Africa, underscoring our ongoing commitment to the development of people in Africa and throughout the African Diaspora."
TNI BioTech will also assist Howard University College of Pharmacy in locating funding for the upgrade of its Center for Drug Research, located inside the college, and help develop the facility. The drug research center, once completed and qualified as a Current Good Manufacturing Practice facility, will provide manufacturing to TNI BioTech, Inc., and other companies looking to manufacture in the United States for distribution both domestically and abroad. The center will provide additional revenue streams to the College of Pharmacy, allowing expansion of its operations to students around the world.
Noreen Griffin, CEO of TNI BioTech, Inc., said the company is very pleased to enter into this agreement with Howard University.
"Few Universities have the experience and commitment to Africa provided by Howard," Griffin said. "It is this very experience and expertise of its professors that will allow TNI BioTech to implement both our business and health care commitment to Africa.
"Howard's health care projects in Africa allow it to help us develop new protocols, obtain regulatory approvals and oversee our clinical trials. We believe this agreement with Howard University enriches our University relationship and creates a new model for important industry-academic drug development and corporation on an international scale.
"The partnership also aligns with Howard University College of Pharmacy's goals in shaping the future of pharmacy science and working collaboratively."
About TNI BioTech: At TNI BioTech, Inc., our goal is to benefit patients with chronic and often life-threatening diseases through the activation and rebalancing of the body's immune system using our patented immunotherapy. Our products, technologies, and patents are designed to harness the power of the immune system to improve the treatment of cancer and infections, such as HIV/AIDS and autoimmune diseases. We are currently developing active and adoptive forms of immunotherapies. Our most advanced clinical programs involve immunotherapy with Met-Enkephalin (MENK) or low dose naltrexone, which both work by triggering opioid receptors on immune cells and lead to an activation and expansion of various cells in the immune system.
About Howard University College of Pharmacy: Consistent with the mission of Howard University, the College of Pharmacy mission aims to provide pharmaceutical education of excellent quality to students with high academic, scholarship and leadership potential, with particular emphasis upon the recruitment, retention and graduation of promising African-American and other ethnically diverse minority students. The primary goals of the College of Pharmacy are:
- To recruit, train and educate qualified African-American and other ethnically diverse minority students to assume leadership roles in pharmacy.
- To produce skilled pharmaceutical care practitioners, proficient pharmaceutical scientists and competent educators to meet the challenges of the profession and society .
- To recruit and retain a cadre of faculty dedicated to teach and mentor students, conduct research and pursue other scholarly activities that contribute to the growth and development of basic and clinical pharmaceutical sciences.
- To provide postgraduate and continuing professional education and community services that will enhance the quality of pharmaceutical care.