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Local Tech Wire

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – , founder of venture-backed , is one of 18 scientists to receive Pioneer Awards from the National Institutes of Health.

The award is worth $2.5 million over five years.

DeSimone, who is a professor at both UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State, plans to use the funds for further study into different means of delivering drugs and other treatments.

“We are very eager to expand the exploration of novel delivery approaches for biologic treatments, as the safe and effective delivery of biologics will pave the way for a new frontier in medicine,” DeSimone said in a statement.

DeSimone will seek to improve upon the nanotechnology called PRINT that is the foundation of Liquidia’s proprietary technology. PRINT enables the design of microscopic particles that can deliver what Liquidia calls “engineered drug therapies” to specific locations within a body.

Liquidia launched in 2004 and currently had a vaccine product advancing toward a clinical trial.

“The efforts of Professor DeSimone and his research team are leading to discoveries of novel and effective delivery methods to prevent and treat a wide range of diseases,” said Liquidia Chief Executive Officer Neal Fowler.

DeSimone is a chemistry professor at UNC and a professor in chemical engineering at NCSU.

In 2008, he received the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for his inventions in green manufacturing, nanomedicine and medical devices as well as lab-to-market entrepreneurship.