Pandemic Antiviral Discovery (PAD) is a global philanthropic initiative aimed at catalyzing the discovery and early development of antiviral medicines in preparation for future pandemics.
After the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2019, governments, public research institutions, private companies and philanthropies came together to develop effective diagnostics and vaccines at record speed. A highly efficacious vaccine was authorized for emergency use in 11 months. While innovations in vaccine R&D saved—and continue to save—lives around the world, antiviral treatments in the form of tablets or pills that can treat infected individuals at home, reduce the risk of hospitalization and death, and slow the spread of the virus have taken significantly longer to bring to market.
If we don’t start preparing now, we risk finding ourselves in the same situation when the next pandemic strikes. With this in mind, the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Open Philanthropy, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched PAD to help catalyze the preparation of novel antiviral treatments for potential future pandemics.
To enable an effective response, these medicines need to be available to all people, regardless of where they live. That’s why equitable access is a core PAD principle.
PAD will focus on antiviral drug candidates for coronaviruses, paramyxoviruses, and orthomyxoviruses— three virus families that are widely considered to have the highest potential of generating a future pandemic threat. Projects supported by PAD will be aimed at:
- Developing research and technology to increase understanding of the priority viruses, and to help identify and validate targets within the three priority virus families
- Identifying new chemical matter, including by compound library screening and structure-guided drug design, and optimizing antiviral lead compounds through medicinal chemistry and focused biological research
- Advancing promising antiviral candidates through phase 1 human safety and pharmacokinetic studies
- Stimulating the development of cutting-edge technology that has the potential to transform and accelerate future antiviral drug discovery
By drawing on the resources, knowledge, and expertise of each of the foundations, PAD will be able to support large-scale projects and avoid redundancies in efforts.
We look forward to collaborating with researchers and other funders across public, private, and nonprofit sectors to accelerate this important research and development.
PAD – in brief
The world needs to be better prepared for future outbreaks of viruses with the potential to become serious pandemics.
PAD is intended to help researchers worldwide create phase 2-ready small-molecule antiviral drug candidates for oral delivery that can be developed and deployed quickly and equitably next time the world faces a pandemic threat.
With equitable access as a core principle of the initiative, the founding partners are committed to ensuring that discoveries and innovations supported by PAD are accessible to people in low- and middle-income countries.
As a global philanthropic collaboration, we will combine our resources, knowledge, and expertise to fund both explorative and large-scale development projects aimed at ensuring the world has access to novel antiviral treatments when the next pandemic hits.
We look forward to collaborating with researchers, and with other funders from across public, private, and nonprofit sectors to accelerate this important research and development.