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Florica Therapeutics ARTICLE

Florica Therapeutics, Inc. Awarded Competitive Grant from the National Science Foundation to Study Brain-Immune Axis in COVID-19

  • Published on 23rd, February 2021
  • Author:

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Florica Therapeutics, Inc. has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $255,678 to work on the Hypothalamus Stem Cell Exosomes for Treatment of COVID-19 project.

This Phase I grant will develop drugs that can modulate the immune response to prevent escalation of COVID-19 to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The hypothalamus is crucial to secretion of cortisol and other immune-modulators that dampen the immune response following immune activation. We will test whether exosome-based therapeutics produced from hypothalamus stem cells can abate the cytokine storm that is the leading cause of death in COVID-19 patients.

“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” said Andrea Belz, Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “With the support of our research funds, any deep technology startup or small business can guide basic science into meaningful solutions that address tremendous needs.”

“To stand on the cutting edge, one must engage in high-risk, high-reward research. The most innovative research charts a course through the unknown, and venturing into the unknown is scary because it contains a degree of technical risk that scares away most private investors. We believe that the only thing scarier than the unknown, is blindly following the already known, mistaking comfort for safety. We are so very grateful for the NSF for underwriting our technical risk as we venture out into the final frontier, to develop therapeutics to treat disease using the human brain—an organ nearly impossible to study due to the scarcity in obtaining living tissue. This Phase 1 study will lay the basis for development of an entirely novel class of therapeutics based on the hypothalamus stem cell exosomes,” said Christine Ichim, CEO of Florica Therapeutics.

Christine Ichim, founder and CEO of Florica Therapeutics continued, “Florica Therapeutics is a labor of love dedicated to my mother Florica Ichim. When I was 10 years old, my mother was diagnosed with leukemia. I promised her that she would not fight alone, I dedicated my life to extending the lives of others through biomedical research. I was so passionate about medical research that when I was 14, I built a laboratory in my basement. When I was 18, I rollerbladed 5,000 miles across Canada to give hope to cancer patients and prove that the human spirit can overcome the impossible.”

About the National Science Foundation's Small Business Programs:

America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.75 million to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.1 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

About Florica Therapeutics, Inc.:

The mission of Florica Therapeutics, Inc. is to develop therapeutics that extend human lifespan by developing regenerative medicine therapeutics from human hypothalamus stem cells. Essential physiological functions crucial to maintaining homeostasis are controlled by the hypothalamus region of the brain.


Terry Hogue


email: [email protected]

phone: 415-579-1586