NovaTarg, a biotech company developing new treatments for cancer, kidney disease and diabetes, has received $3.2 million in Small Business Innovative Research grants, tripling the firm’s current funding.

Founded in 2009 by former GlaxoSmithKline executives, including Ken Batchelor, who heads the company as president and CEO.

It has done very well in landing federal and state research grants, loans and support. It is headquarted at First Flight Venture Center in Research Triangle Park.

NovaTarg previously received a collaboration funding grant from the NC Biotechnology Center to support its research on ovarian cancer treatments.

In February the company nabbed a $50,000 matching grant frm the NC Dept. of Commerce for discovery of a new drug to treat the most common type of liver cancer and third leading cause of cancer deaths globally.

It also received five previous SBIR grants to support various drug development projects.

It explains on its web site: “NovaTarg’s purpose is to discover and develop tissue selective AMPK activators to treat cancer, metabolic diseases, and viral infections. Our approach utilizes membrane transporters that allow delivery of drugs to specific cell types.”

AMPK is a key regulator of energy utilization in cells. It is also a tumor suppressor.

NovaTarg says ita has identified a novel series of AMPK activators that enter cells via specific cell membrane transporters and, importantly, regulate cell growth as well as energy utilization in target cells.