API partners with the University of Waterloo to develop broad-spectrum small molecule therapeutics against coronaviruses

Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation (API), a not-for-profit life sciences organization, has partnered with a team of scientists from the University of Waterloo, to conduct research in finding promising therapeutics and drugs for the treatment and prevention of coronaviruses.

This team of research scientists and industry experts will work together in developing potent small molecule drugs that can effectively target a protease enzyme that is a critical viral replication machinery in coronaviruses. The team focuses on creating unique structure-based solutions against a broad spectrum of coronavirus variants that will help to mitigate any future pandemic caused by coronaviruses.

This announcement comes as API’s third academic-industry collaboration this year to support research and drug development of antivirals and drugs against the coronavirus variants and contribute to Canada’s pandemic preparedness.

University of Waterloo scientists – Dr. Aravindhan Ganesan, Research Professor, School of Pharmacy; Dr. Subha Kalyaanamoorthy, Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Dr. Todd Holyoak, Associate Professor, Department of Biology are the key collaborators on this study along with support from API’s experts and its network facilities. The project will also create opportunities for training seven interns in the areas of structural biology and drug development.

“Our collaborative team is involved in applying a uniquely multi-disciplinary approach that combines the knowledge of molecular evolution, structure-based drug design and biochemical experiments to develop small molecule inhibitors of the main protease enzyme that is highly conserved in all of the known coronaviruses. If successful, our research will lead to the development of potent broad-spectrum direct-acting antivirals that will not only help in the treatment of the ongoing COVID-19 infection but also in effectively managing any future coronavirus breakouts. We are optimistic about the success of our approach,” said Professor Ganesan, School of Pharmacy, University of Waterloo.

“Additional research into protein inhibitors will open more options for promising drug discoveries into coronavirus treatments and prevention. This will be critical as the pandemic transitions into an endemic. As an industry partner on this project, we are pleased to work with the University of Waterloo team and create opportunities for training and supervision of interns in various areas of drug research and discovery,” said Andrew MacIsaac, CEO, API. “By working closely and facilitating similar partnerships in drug research for infectious diseases, we are developing a highly qualified personnel (HQPs) workforce that is skilled and ready in vaccine drug development now and for future pandemic scenarios.”

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