Birmingham, Ala. — Southern Research Institute today announced that it has been awarded a critical new research program to study the potential impact of early life exposure to certain chemicals and to determine their impact to developmental and reproductive systems. The program will also evaluate the impact to other non-reproductive organ systems, including those that cause neurobehavioral and immunological health deficiencies which may not be discovered until later in life.
This National Toxicology Program (NTP) contract was awarded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)—a research institute of the National Institutes for Health—under contact number HHSN273201300010C which has a potential total contract value of more than $70 million over the next 10 years.
“During this time of uncertain federal funding, Southern Research is honored to have been selected to conduct this work, especially knowing that the data generated will provide valuable information to scientists, medical researchers, and clinicians about how these chemical test articles affect the development of early life and reproductive systems, and what other long-term effects that exposure could have,” said Andrew D. Penman, Ph.D., Vice President of Drug Development at Southern Research Institute.
“Southern Research’s historically-rich general toxicology capabilities and prior NTP experience, together with the expertise of our developmental and reproductive toxicology group, enabled us to put forth our strongest possible offering to the NTP,” said Kellye K. Daniels, Ph.D., Director of Toxicology and Pathology Services.
Charles D. Hébert, Ph.D. will serve as the principal investigator. The NTP requires support to conduct short- and long-term toxicity studies following pre- and postnatal exposure to a variety of test articles by various routes of exposure. Agents studied may include environmental chemicals; food additives, colorants or flavorings; pharmaceuticals and herbal remedies; pesticides; ingredients found in a variety of consumer products including soaps and cosmetics; detergents and cleaners; nanomaterials; and chemicals used in manufacturing or industrial settings.
Three years ago, Southern Research made a significant investment in its reproductive toxicology program with the hiring of Eve Mylchreest, Ph.D., Program Leader of the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology (DART) program at Southern Research. Mylchreest has led the development of the program, ensuring that Southern Research had the facilities, equipment and training to deliver on commercial client work and government contracts such as the NTP.
“There is a growing need to look not just at the impact of chemical exposures on adult health, but also to specifically understand what impact they may have on the male and female reproductive systems and future generations of the species,” said Mylchreest. “DART testing is so critical in better understanding which chemicals in our environment could pose a hazard to sensitive life stages such as pregnancy and childhood, as well as in identifying the long term impact of these early life stage exposures.”
About the National Toxicology Program (NTP)
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) was established within the Department of Health and Human Services and charged with coordinating toxicological testing programs within the Public Health Service of the Department. The NTP, as part of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), is responsible for evaluating the toxic and carcinogenic potential of environmental agents that may pose a health hazard to citizens of the United States. NIEHS is a research agency of the National Institutes for Health.
About Southern Research Institute
Southern Research Institute is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) scientific research organization founded in 1941 that conducts preclinical drug discovery and development, advanced engineering research in materials, systems development, and environment and energy research. Approximately 500 scientific and engineering team members support clients and partners in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, defense, aerospace, environmental and energy industries. Southern Research is headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., with additional laboratories and offices in Wilsonville and Huntsville, Ala., Frederick, Md., Durham, NC, and Cartersville, Ga.