Sapience Therapeutics Awarded SBIR Phase I Grant from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

HARRISON, N.Y., May 18, 2021 — Sapience Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of peptide therapeutics to address difficult to treat oncology indications, announced today that it was awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infection with a pan-coronavirus anti-viral peptide. The grant will provide funds over two years to support the discovery and development of peptide therapeutics against coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

“We are very excited to have received this grant from the NIAID/NIH, which will allow us to investigate the potential of our platform for targeting SARS-CoV-2 while remaining focused on our goal to address difficult to treat cancer indications,” said Jim Rotolo, Ph.D., VP, Translational Pharmacology and Head of Research of Sapience Therapeutics.

“With an FDA-approved peptide that inhibits HIV-1 viral fusion already in use (Fuzeon®), peptides as a therapeutic class have been demonstrated to be well suited for this purpose,” added Gene Merutka, Ph.D., VP, CMC.  “If successful, peptides may provide a more cost-effective and novel treatment option for newly diagnosed cases of coronaviruses.”  

This grant was awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R43AI157521. The content of the press release is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

About Sapience Therapeutics

Sapience Therapeutics, Inc., is a privately held, clinical stage biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing peptide-based therapeutics for major unmet medical needs, particularly high mortality cancers. With platform-based discovery of peptide therapeutics that disrupt protein-protein interactions, Sapience’s molecules hold potential to target intracellular interactions that are traditionally considered “undruggable targets”.  Its lead compound, ST101, is a first-in-class molecule with potential applications in various solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. For more information on Sapience Therapeutics, please visit

Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements.  Any statements herein other than statements of historical fact could be deemed to be forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements may include, among other things, statements regarding future events that involve significant risks and uncertainties (including with respect to Sapience’s preclinical and clinical development programs).   These forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations, and actual results and future events may differ materially as a result of certain factors, including, without limitation, risks related to the application of the net proceeds from the offering to Sapience’s product development objectives, our ability to obtain additional funds, and meet applicable regulatory standards and receive required regulatory approvals. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release. Sapience does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events, changed assumptions or otherwise, except as required by law. 


Sapience Therapeutics, Inc.:
Barry Kappel, Ph.D., M.B.A.
President and Chief Executive Officer

Media and Investor Contact:
Amy Conrad
Juniper Point
(858) 366-3243

Released May 18, 2021