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Switzerland Innovation Park Innovaare Member Company InterAx Biotech AG is collaborating with Professor Jana Selent from the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) in Barcelona, Spain, to identify antiviral drugs for the treatment of COVID-19. This project is funded by Biocat, a Catalan life sciences and healthcare organization.
It is estimated that SARS-CoV-2 was first transmitted to humans in December 2019. Since then, it has spread worldwide and infected millions of individuals in more than 200 countries.
In April 2020 InterAx Biotech AG joined forces with Prof. Selent and her team to screen potential antiviral compounds in a virtual 3D-structrual database using specific computational algorithms. These were subsequently tested for efficiency in a SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus entry blocking assay. The main goalof this project is to identify antiviral drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 by reprofiling existing drugs.
“In this project, we focus on two strategies that interfere with the cell entry of SARS-CoV-2,” explains Prof. Selent. “One is to target the spike glycoprotein (S protein) of SARS-CoV-2 and the other is to tackle the serine protease TMPRSS2. We are excited to team up with InterAx Biotech to test these compounds in the wet lab and anticipate that such a dual strategy will increase the success rate of discovering effective therapeutic agents against COVID-19.”
The teams of InterAx Biotech and of Professor Jana Selent hope to test the first antiviral compounds in the course of May 2020.
About InterAx Biotech
InterAx Biotech AG successfully reached Phase 2 of the EU Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020 and was awarded CHF 2.5 million.
In March 2020, Dr. Maria Waldhoer, Chief Science Officer at InterAx Biotech AG, was elected as one of 61 Swiss Female Entrepreneurs to Watch by the powerful Swiss startup support organization Venturelab. Waldhoer has a background in pharmacology and biology and more than twenty years of experience in GPCR drug discovery. With her expertise in academia and industry both in Europe and in the USA, she is an expert at bridging the gap between science and industry.