Biodefense grant awarded

Lexicon Genetics Inc. won a grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases to research drugs that could provide resistance to ricin poisoning, officials at the Woodlands, Texas company said.

In the initial one-year term of the contract Lexicon will receive $1.9 million.

Lexicon's research will focus on identifying proteins?called host factors?which may block the effects of ricin poisoning. Lexicon will use its gene knockout technology to study genes that, when blocked, my resist the toxic effects of ricin exposure.

Ricin is a poison that can be made from the waste left over from processing castor beans. It might have been used in the Iran-Iraq war during the 1980s and it has been found in Al Qaeda caves in Afghanistan.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

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