KU Leuven – Lieve Naesens

Open Philanthropy has awarded a grant of USD 3,550,000 to support development of Influenza A polymerase inhibitors

Influenza A virus represents a continuous threat for causing a pandemic that may cost millions of lives. To be prepared, we need antiviral drugs that can be rapidly rolled out when a novel influenza A virus is emerging. The aim of this project is to optimize our novel class of viral polymerase inhibitors towards a preclinical candidate that is ready to enter IND enabling studies. The focus of the project will be on developing a drug suited for oral administration and with no cross-resistance against existing anti-influenza drugs. The proprietary lead compounds have nanomolar activity and defined and novel mechanism of action and binding mode to the viral target. The work will be executed by principal investigator Lieve Naesens at KU Leuven in Belgium, an expert in the field of influenza antivirals, in partnership with the Center for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3)/Center for Innovation and Stimulation of Drug Discovery (CISTIM), Belgium, experts in medicinal chemistry and antiviral drug development, providing a unique environment to drive this project to a success. The 3-year project commenced in April 2024.