Pharmaceutical company receives NIH awards to further develop therapeutics to modulate the body’s disordered immune response

Houston, TX (January 31, 2017) – The National Institute of Health (NIH) has awarded Atrapos Therapeutics, LLC, a Fannin Innovation Studio® company, a $227,537 grant to continue development of PM-43I, the company’s anti-asthma drug being developed as a more effective alternative to steroids.  In addition, Atrapos has also won significant in-kind support from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s SMARTT Program, which will fund the manufacturing of GMP-grade material in preparation for IND-enabling toxicology studies and regulatory support services.   

Atrapos is a preclinical pharmaceutical company developing targeted therapeutics that modulate the body’s allergenic immune response in specific diseases by inhibiting the intracellular signaling pathways controlled through the transcription factor STAT5 and STAT6.  In partnership with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine, the NIH grant will be used by Atrapos to further develop the company’s lead molecule PM-43I, which has demonstrated encouraging activity in mouse models of allergic asthma including a significant reduction in airway hyper-responsiveness.  PM-43I is delivered via inhalation and is differentiated from the monoclonal antibody biologics currently targeting this pathway by its simpler route of administration, its lower risk of toxicity, and its more complete blockade of these key asthma-related pathways. PM-43I is also being evaluated in other therapeutic settings where the STAT5 and STAT6 pathways are activated including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and atopic dermatitis.

“Over 25 million people in the United States alone suffer from asthma, with allergic asthma being the most common. The NIH grant and two SMARTT awards provide the support needed to continue Corry and McMurray’s invaluable work,” states Fannin Innovation Studio principal Dev Chatterjee, M.D., Ph.D. “We could not be more pleased with the scientific progress of Atrapos.  Our goal is to create a more effective alternative to current treatments for allergic asthma while avoiding the multiple side-effects of steroids.”

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s SMARTT Program — Science Moving towArds Research Translation and Therapy — provides IND-enabling support for novel discoveries focused on new therapies for heart, lung and blood diseases.   The program provides its in-kind services via three designated independent contractors that are highly regarded in their fields.  Since the program’s initiation in 2010, more than $30 million worth of services have been provided to more than 40 different investigators across the U.S., with the funding helping lead to more than 10 investigational new drug (IND) applications with the FDA.

PM-43I was developed by John McMurray, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Experimental Therapeutics at MD Anderson, and David Corry, M.D., Professor and Chief of the Section of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology at Baylor College of Medicine.  McMurray and Corry will continue to develop the therapeutic technology with Atrapos, which has an exclusive license from MD Anderson. 

“In the beginning, Dr. McMurray had the idea to target the most critical molecules in the most clinically relevant pathways that I had previously identified.  Targeting these pathways has already shown success in the management of allergic asthma,” says Corry. “Fannin has been extremely helpful in assisting us in navigating a difficult regulatory process and obtaining government grants to further the development and evaluation of Atrapos in other therapeutic settings, beyond allergic asthma.”

Atrapos is a portfolio company of Fannin Innovation Studio, a Houston-based company that provides integrated funding and management of early-stage life science startups. Atrapos’ research and development activities are actively managed by Fannin principals Dev Chatterjee, M.D., Ph.D., and Melissa Singh, Ph.D.  Managing partner Atul Varadhachary, M.D., Ph.D. serves as President.

“Our partnerships with academic researchers at Houston’s leading research institutions allow us to identify breakthrough science that we can together advance into development,” said Varadhachary. “These partnerships, combined with Fannin’s new approach to development, enable us to substantially increase the number of promising new technologies advancing towards the clinic.”

Atrapos recently finalized its formation and is part of Fannin’s growth strategy to advance fifteen additional early-stage technologies into development within the next three years. Atrapos joins a diverse portfolio of startups commercializing promising technologies including therapeutics, medical devices, and diagnostics.

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About Fannin Innovation Studio

Houston-based Fannin Innovation Studio is an early-stage life sciences development group focused exclusively on commercializing medical technologies. Fannin partners with life science innovators to co-found startup companies and provides a pooled management team, funding, and administrative support. To further bridge the commercialization gap, Fannin’s internship and fellowship programs provide aspiring entrepreneurs with hands-on development experience with its portfolio companies. For more information, visit or email



Serena Miggins

Fannin Innovation Studio


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