News | July 21, 2020

National Institutes Of Health Awards Boragen $300,500 Grant For Antimalarial Drug Discovery


Boragen, Inc., a world-leading boron-based discovery platform company, has been awarded a $300,500 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The SBIR grant will further accelerate the collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), that focuses on effective control for the protozoan parasite Plasmodium, the causative agent for malaria.

The project takes a 2-pronged approach, starting with leveraging Boragen’s unique diverse boron-based small molecule library to identify new targets and modes of action for inhibiting Plasmodium. Secondly, “acknowledging that there is a strong interplay between inflammation and most human diseases, including infectious diseases like malaria, we are also looking into a strategy that could both inhibit the parasite and provide the relevant anti-inflammatory effect,” said Dr. Tony Liu, Boragen’s Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017 there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria worldwide, with 435,000 deaths occurring mostly in children in Africa. New drugs to treat malaria, ideally with unique chemical structures and mechanisms of action, are urgently needed. Optimal antimalarials will be orally bioavailable, have extended pharmacological exposure, be safe for administration to children and pregnant women, be rapidly active against erythrocytic malaria parasites, and ideally also be active against other life cycle stages of malaria parasites.

“Based on what we have already seen, we are optimistic about the possibility of finding a highly efficacious and safe boron-based small molecule that will exert potent antimalarial activity and fulfill necessary criteria to enable progression to antimalarial drug development,” said Dr. Philip Rosenthal, Professor, Dept. of Medicine at UCSF.


Boragen, founded in 2015 by world-renowned experts in boron chemistry, is headquartered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The company utilizes boron’s unique properties to design and develop novel solutions targeting needs in crop protection, animal health and human health. To date, the company has developed a unique boron-based screening library targeting diverse biological applications. For more information visit


The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is exclusively focused on the health sciences and is dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. UCSF Health, which serves as UCSF's primary academic medical center, includes top-ranked specialty hospitals and other clinical programs, and has affiliations throughout the Bay Area. Learn more at, or see our Fact Sheet.

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About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

Disclaimer: Research reported in this press release is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease of the National Institutes of Health under the award number R43AI155112. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

UC Disclaimer: The information stated above was prepared by Boragen, Inc., and reflects solely the opinion of the corporation. Nothing in this statement shall be construed to imply any support or endorsement of Boragen, or any of its products, by The Regents of the University of California, its officers, agents and employees.

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