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CHARLOTTE … When a clot stops blood flow to the heart or brain causing a heart attack or stroke, the body’s inflammatory response to lack of blood often causes the most serious and frequently deadly damage.

ParinGenix, a Charlotte-based company founded in May 2002, is testing a chemical that may prevent that damage, says Greg Johnson, chairman. Johnson is also a partner in The Academy Funds, Charlotte, which has contributed to $1.5 million in funding for the company. Other investors include Tucson, Arizona-based Research Corporation Technologies and the Louisiana family of founder Thomas P. Kennedy, for a total of under $5 million.

“We’re touching all corners of the country with this,” quips Johnson.

Kennedy, a medical professor and critical care doctor at Carolinas Medical, developed a chemical that has anti-inflammatory effectiveness in a variety of indications, Johnson says. “It’s a platform technology with more than one application.”

Costly drugs

In forming ParinGenix, however, the founders had to focus on one and chose to treat reperfusion damage after a heart attack. That occurs when the body’s own inflammatory response to the lack of blood and creates muscle damage after blood flow is restored.

“With our technology I think we’ll be able to reduce that damage very significantly,” Johnson says.

The market is not huge – from 500,000 to 1 million cases a year in the U.S. – but the treatments for it are expensive. Other drugs used in the same circumstance sell for from $500 to $1,500.

“You can have 50 percent less damage to the heart muscle, recovery is faster, and you may still be able to do most of the things you want to and not be nearly so impaired,” Johnson says.

IND planned

The company wants to file an Innovative New Drug application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this summer, then commence small scale clinical trials for proof of principal, Johnson says. “The trials will typically include from 50-100 people. They” be done live in the emergency rooms.”

Johnson says that because the drug would only be given once, “It’s a little easier to move forward because you don’t have to consider the effects of long term use.”

At this point, it’s a virtual company without employees or offices. “We’re working through contractors,” Johnson says. J. Foust is president.

Johnson says the company is considering funding options. “Additional funding would be appropriate if we decide to go after other indications such as cerebral reperfusion after a stroke,” he adds. “When you first start something like this, you have to focus narrowly to move things forward. But another opportunity would require additional funding.”

Clayton to Mexico

Deborah Clayton, director of the Charlotte Research Institute at UNC-Charlotte, tells LTW she’s going to substitute for UNC’s Molly Broad at the Council of Competiveness conference in Mexico this Friday.

Clayton notes that the U.S. Council on Competiveness based in Washington, D.C., is chaired by BellSouth’s chairman, Duane Ackerman.

“Some top Fortune 500 companies are going to Mexico for the conference,” says Clayton, who is to give a talk in Broad’s place.

Decision Point helps closes deal

DecisionPoint International, a boutique investment bank providing merger and acquisition services to middle-market technology clients, says it’s client, Perficident Inc. (NASDAQ:PRFT), an e-business software company, has acquired privately held Meritage Technologies, Inc. for $7.1 million.

Meritage is a Midwestern ebusiness software company with approximately $12 million in annual revenue. The deal will make Perficient the leading WebSpere seller in the Mid-west, Decision Point says.

The company expects revenue of $52 million annual and will have 350 employees.

DecisionPoint: www.decisionpointint.com

UNCC: www.uncc.edu