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IMM and consortium partners Protinhi Therapeutics and Artemis launched the preclinical development of pan-corona antiviral against COVID-19 and other corona viral threats

1.4M euros have been granted by ZonMw to the consortium to carry on the development of pan-corona antiviral initiated in the predecessor project PanCoroNed. The consortium is composed of a broad coalition of knowledge institutions and private stakeholders, including the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM) of Radboud University and SME partners Protinhi and Artemis Bioservices. This R&D project will initiate the necessary preclinical R&D activities before entering clinical trials, and it aims at expanding the pandemic-preparedness toolbox by developing an innovative small molecule drug with broadl antiviral activity against coronaviruses.

Pan-corona small molecule antiviral drug against COVID-19 and other coronaviruses
The COVID-19 pandemic clearly demonstrated the vulnerability of the current health systems in resolving the threats posed by existing and emerging viruses, which can lead to profound impacts on citizens’ health and global economy. Despite the extensive utilizations of vaccines, the protection enabled by vaccination can be limited due to vaccination hesitancy and decreased efficacy toward different virus strains. Moreover, lots of people still suffer from long-term complications caused by severe COVID, known as long COVID. Therefore, it is essential to have antiviral treatment as another pillar of outbreak management to reduce virus spread and treat patients at the early stage of outbreaks. In this project, research team of Professor Rutjes at Radboud University, Protinhi Therapeutics and Artemis Bioservices are dedicating their expertise to developing novel pan-corona broadly antiviral medicine against coronaviruses. This medicine will target viral proteases— enzymes crucial for the replication of the virus once it entered the human body—  and offer better preparation and responsiveness towards future viral outbreaks caused by coronaviruses, including for instance MERS, SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2.

Proprietary chemistry platform to innovate antiviral R&D 
The innovative process to generate novel broad-spectrum antivirals is rooted in the proprietary chemistry platform collaboratively developed by Protinhi Therapeutics and the Organic Synthesis research group of Professor Rutjes in IMM of Radboud University.

“We are happy to continue the development of our broad-spectrum pan-corona antiviral with Professor Rutjes. The synergy of both parties’ chemistry expertise will support our antiviral R&D with a fresh vision, further accelerate the compound optimization and preclinical development of this novel medicine. We look forward to bringing this new antiviral tool to global society as soon as we would to ease current COVID-19 crisis, and prepare for future outbreaks caused by emerging coronaviruses.“ Said Bernd van Buuren, CEO of Protinhi Therapeutics.

“It is thrilling to see that our science is not only framed in academia but also applied to benifit society. We look forward to witnessing our chemistry expertise in small molecules and sustainable synthesis methods being contributed to future pandemic preparedness.” Said Floris Rutjes, director of IMM at Radboud University.

About Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM)

The Institute of Molecules and Materials (IMM) is a research institute in chemistry and physics. Being one of the main research institutes of Radboud University, IMM is engaged in the design and creation of functional molecules and materials with the aim of fundamentally understanding their behaviour. IMM promotes interdisciplinary research, to drive innovation and tackle urgent and complex challenges that modern society faces today.

About Protinhi Therapeutics

Protinihi Therapeutics is a preclinical-stage Dutch biopharma company dedicated to developing novel broad-spectrum antiviral drugs to treat and prevent viral infectious diseases via therapeutic and prophylactic use and help prepare for future pandemics. Protinihi currently focuses on flaviviruses (e.g., dengue, Zika, West Nile), coronaviruses (e.g., SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2, MERS) and chikungunya virus, and strives for expanding to other virus families by applying its proprietary technology platform. 

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About ZonMw

In the Netherlands, ZonMw plays a central role in this area as national funding organisation, coveing the entire spectrum from basic research to the implementation of new treatments, disease prevention, and health care improvements. ZonMw aims to ensure that healthy people stay that way for as long as possible, that ill people recover as quickly and completely as possible and that people who require care and nursing receive the highest standard of services. ZonMw’s principal commissioners are the Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Contact Information

Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM)

Floris Rutjes,
IMM Communications:

Protinhi Therapeutics

Bernd van Buuren, PhD, CEO

+31 6 19 34 71 02