Johns Hopkins University – Anthony K. L. Leung

Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded a grant of USD 2,200,000 to support the development of a novel class of pan-coronavirus antivirals

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a critical need for effective treatments for coronavirus infections. This project targets a protein domain called the macrodomain, which recognizes and removes a chemical tag called ADP-ribose. This macrodomain is highly conserved among all coronaviruses known to infect humans, including across variants of SARS-CoV-2, and has been shown to be critical for viral replication and pathogenesis. Led by Anthony Leung, the project involves colleagues at Johns Hopkins University, including Barbara Slusher, Diane Griffin, and Andrew Pekosz, as well as external collaborators Matt Frieman (University of Maryland), Jürgen Bosch (InterRay Bio, LLC), Lari Lehtiö (University of Oulu), and Pavel Majer (Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences). This team leverages expertise in virology, medicinal chemistry, and drug discovery to develop novel antiviral therapies. The 3-year project commenced in June 2024.