Manhattan BioSolutions Announces Phase I SBIR Grant Award from the National Science Foundation

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, September 9, 2020 / — Manhattan BioSolutions, a biotechnology company focused on the discovery of the next-generation therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases, has been awarded a Phase I SBIR grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) entitled “Genetically Engineered BCG as a Microbe-Based Platform for Vaccination Against COVID-19”.

This grant will enable the pre-clinical development of a safe and affordable COVID-19 vaccination technology, with broader utility in preventing other types of human viruses that may cause major outbreaks in the future. Novel vaccination platform is based on the genetically modified bacteria Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), which has a long safety track record as a highly cost-effective vaccine against tuberculosis (TB) used in infants and small children. The proposed project enables the generation of novel microbial vaccine platform based on recombinant BCG bacteria (rBCG) engineered to target SARS-CoV-2, with the potential to protect against COVID-19 disease and its associated pathology. This new design also addresses major limitation of recently suggested approach that relies on beneficial effects of unmodified BCG to stimulate the human immune system broadly: a lack of specificity to SARS-CoV-2. The SBIR grant supports an ongoing collaboration with Dr Jessica Seeliger, PhD, an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacological Sciences, Stony Brook University.

Dr. Jessica Seeliger commented: “We are pleased to collaborate with Manhattan BioSolutions on genetically engineering living microbes that express SARS-CoV-2 protein fragments. Preliminary results from our collaborative oncology project have already shown that the integration and expression of targeted foreign genes can be successfully achieved in BCG bacteria.”

Dr. Boris Shor, CEO of Manhattan BioSolutions and a Bioentrepreneur-in-Residence at Stony Brook University’s Center for Biotechnology, commented: “Given its long safety track record as TB vaccine, BCG-vectored COVID-19 vaccine maybe employed for both pediatric immunizations and for vaccinating at-risk human populations including frontline healthcare workers or elderly individuals. This project represents an exciting and logical extension of our unique oncology effort, funded by National Cancer Institute SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).”

About Manhattan BioSolutions

Manhattan BioSolutions, Inc. (MBS) is a privately held biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of immunotherapies that target innate immunity for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases. MBS leverages two technology platforms for drug discovery: microbial based genetically engineered immune stimulator platform, and monoclonal antibodies against innate immune sensors that recognize pathogens or endogenous “danger signals” released as a result of tissue injury or inflammation. For more information, please email us at

About America’s Seed Fund

America’s Seed Fund powered by the National Science Foundation (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 in non-dilutive funds 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. For more information, visit

Boris Shor, PhD
Manhattan Biosolutions, Inc.
+1 857-600-1021
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