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Validation of a novel antiviral drug candidate against influenza

Project description

Novel drugs stop influenza replication

Influenza viruses are responsible for the seasonal flu, affecting millions of people worldwide every year. Given the potential of influenza to cause pandemics with devastating effects on human lives and the economy, there is a pressing need for effective antiviral drugs with a reduced risk of causing viral escape. Scientists of the EU-funded FluAttack project have identified a new family of molecules as potent inhibitors of influenza viruses. These molecules target a cellular function paramount to virus survival and will undergo further testing and characterisation in models of influenza infection. The project aims to support the future development and pre-clinical validation of these anti-flu drugs.


With 3 to 5 million severe cases and up to 650,000 deaths per year worldwide, influenza viruses are not only major human pathogens, they are also a heavy economic burden to our societies. In addition, influenza pandemics can occur at any time with potential devastating effects in terms of lives and costs. Solutions to prevent infection, to treat severe influenza cases and to respond to a severe pandemic are currently extremely limited and rely on vaccination and on only few approved molecules. All these solutions have their limitations with respect to efficacy and all face the problem of viral resistance. Thus, the demand for new options against influenza infections is high. The World Health Organization (WHO) and influenza virus specialists agree that innovative and effective anti-influenza compounds with a reduced risk of viral escape are urgently needed. The main goal of this ERC PoC is to provide key data on a promising innovative therapeutic solution identified in the lab. Taking advantage of a powerful screening system we have developed during the ERC StG ANTIViR, we have identified a family of molecules as potent inhibitors of influenza virus (with IC50<100nM). The mode of action of these molecules is known and they actually target a cellular function essential to all influenza viruses. Preventing viral replication by targeting a cellular function is a novel approach, predicted to strongly reduce the risk of drug resistance. Importantly, one of our hits went through several phase II and III clinical trials as an anti-cancer agent, making this molecule a perfect candidate for drug repurposing. In this context, the specific objectives of this ERC PoC are: i) to further characterise and validate our best hit, in particular in commercial 3D human airway epithelial cells and in vivo in a mouse model, and ii) to secure IPR and to establish an exploitation strategy plan (patent licensing or creation of a start-up) to support future development and preclinical tests.



Net EU contribution
€ 139 081,00
Rue de tolbiac 101
75654 Paris

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Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
No data

Beneficiaries (2)