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Canurta receives $150K for research on respiratory disease therapeutics

The Black-led biotechnology company hopes to prove its unique polyphenol products can be an alternative for people dealing with respiratory issues.

Canurta receives $150K for research on respiratory disease therapeutics
Akeem Gardner, co-founder and CEO of Canurta, presenting Canurta’s findings on limiting Glioblastoma invasion and survival at the 15th Annual World Polyphenol Conference in Valencia, Spain, 2022. SUBMITTED PHOTO 

Canurta has announced it is one of three researchers to receive $150,000 from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to develop a proof of concept for its respiratory disease therapeutics.

The Black-led company is designing various assays to test and evaluate several key activities. The testing will include animal and future human clinical assessments.

“It’s a pretty exciting and validating opportunity, and our team is extremely excited,” founder Akeem Gardner told Black Dollar Magazine. “The government sees the promise we can deliver with polyphenol therapeutics regarding future infectious and respiratory related devices. Our early research has shown that on top of the already known potent anti-inflammatory properties, our molecules have antiviral capacity too.”

The federal government sent out a challenge to Canadian biotechnology companies at the beginning of the year to apply for the program, which will select one company to partner with to continue research on therapeutics that can mitigate respiratory illness and diseases.

The company's current products have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and neuroprotective potential, according to Canurta.

Companies began researching in January, and the winning firm will be announced in July.

If named the winner, Canurta would be the first Black-owned biotech firm to do this work. It could help them expand access to polyphenol flavonoids for those among anti-vaccine and religious groups that will still have alternatives to reduce the likelihood of succumbing to respiratory diseases.

“We can show that not only COVID-19 variants but for future pandemics, the research can be a catalyst for us to find alternatives for groups that don't like vaccines or don't trust traditional big pharma companies. Some are looking for natural components with adverse effects to protect their systems from current and future pandemics. Having that alternative for us can really set things up for the future,” Gardener said.