University of California San Diego – Karl Hostetler

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded a grant of $898,153 to University of California San Diego to develop an oral prodrug of remdesivir to treat diseases caused by pandemic threat viruses.

Remdesivir (Veklury) is a clinically validated antiviral compound approved treatment of COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients. Remdesivir is a prodrug of a monophosphate nucleotide analog that is metabolized to the triphosphate form in cells where it inhibits the viral polymerase to reduce virus replication. While remdesivir is approved for treatment of COVID-19 it is also able to inhibit viruses from multiple virus families including coronaviruses, paramyxoviruses, filoviruses, and flaviviruses, all of which contain species of pandemic concern. The compound is administered by IV to bypass first pass metabolism in the liver in order to be metabolized into the active form in tissues where virus replicates. The IV administration poses a major limitation to use of remdesivir for treating viral infections. The goal of this 1-year project lead by Karl Hostetler at the University of California San Diego is to develop an oral lipid prodrug of remdesivir that can be used to treat viral infections caused by pandemic threat viruses.