Biotechnology company ViroLogic on Thursday announced receiving a $1.5 million Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund a large-scale study of its HIV replication capacity test. The test examines the genetic fitness of the virus inside a person to gauge its ability to replicate, particularly in the presence of antiretroviral treatment, and predict the pace of HIV disease progression. "Numerous clinical studies performed to date strongly suggest a role for replication capacity in the management of HIV-infected patients, particularly in clinical scenarios where physicians currently need better guidance," said Michael Bates, vice president of clinical research at the company. "This grant will allow ViroLogic and academic collaborators to examine the potential clinical utility of replication capacity more thoroughly so that we can better define exactly which patients may benefit from assessments of it." The grant will be used for a large-scale clinical trial to test replication capacity measurements in a variety of HIV-positive patients, including those who've never taken anti-HIV drugs and those who are already resistant to some of the medications. The grant is a continuation of a two-year initial grant awarded by the NIH in 2001.