KALAMAZOO NanoVir announced Monday that is has won a $600,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to create drugs to fight the sole cause of cervical cancer the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide.

The $600,000 Advanced Technology small business grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health is very large since typical NIH small business grants are for less then $100,000.

James Bashkin and Christopher Fisher, both former Pfizer research scientists, founded NanoVir in 2003. Fisher works from laboratory space at the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center at Western Michigan Universitys Business Technology and Research Park on the Universitys Parkview campus. Bashkin works in a laboratory at the University of Missouri in St. Louis, where he is a member of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry.

Its great to know that we are competitive with companies from biotech centers like San Diego and Boston, Fisher said. Recognition from such an august organization as the NIH makes this award all the more sweet. It will give us the time and resources we need to effectively fight this cunning virus.

The Southwest Michigan Innovation Center is a 58,000-square-foot incubator/accelerator designed to provide wet-lab space, access to venture funding and business services to emerging companies in biosciences and high technology.

The technology grant will fund the development of molecular strategies for fighting the sole cause of cervical cancer: human papillomavirus. HPV is the most prevalent sexually transmitted virus. Although best known for its role as the cause of cervical cancer, HPV is also the infectious agent that causes genital and other warts. Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide. Genital warts exceed genital herpes as a major contributor to doctors visits.