Bonn University – Hiroki Kato and Christa Müller

Open Philanthropy has awarded a grant of USD 2,200,000 to support optimization of a host-directed Influenza A antiviral

The goal of this project is to develop a drug candidate that inhibits influenza growth by inhibiting the host enzyme that catalyzes methylation of the cap structure on mRNA. This drug candidate was discovered and reported by the Hiroki Kato and team in Science 2023 (doi: 10.1126/science.add0875). The mode of action of the drug is synergistic with the activity of the approved drug Baloxavir, raising the possibility that the proposed new drug could be used in combination with Baloxavir to eliminate or reduce the proliferation of mutants of influenza that are resistant to Baloxavir. The work will be executed by principal investigators Hiroko Kato and Christa Müller, both at Bonn University, Germany. The 3-year project commenced in July 2023.