RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Flutrends International, a startup biotech firm that plans to develop means of combating influenza, is receiving a boost from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

The Center is providing Flutrends with a $21,000 business development loan to help get the company launched.

"We intend to offer a new approach for preventing the influenza virus from attacking the human host," said Gregory Poole, co-founder of the company, "while also delivering a therapy capable of disabling the flu virus at the cellular level.

“We simply could not get this done in the time frame we deem appropriate without the assistance of the Biotechnology Center," he added in a statement.

Poole, a businessman, founded the firm along with Steven Schwartz, a physician from Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The company intends to develop what it calls “viral barriers” as well as drugs.

“We have been treating and fighting the influenza virus the same way for more than 50 years; it is time to recognize that a new approach is needed," Schwartz, the firm’s chief executive officer, said when the company was announced.

"The potential threat posed from an Avian flu pandemic, both economic and health- related, requires us to focus more research on the virus, human-to-human transmission and to seek out new ideas and techniques to combat and defeat the threat and aggravation that the flu poses to millions of people worldwide,” he added.

The business development loan is a program offered by the Biotech Center to help startups across the state.

"We’re glad we can be here for them, because virtually all start-ups need this kind of help to make it through the inception phase and prove their concepts to venture investors,” said John Richert, vice president of the Biotechnology Center’s Business & Technology Development Program.