Fakultät für Chemie und Pharmazie

Active Substances against SARS-CoV2

Munich, Nov 16, 2021

Three groups from the Department of Pharmacy succeed in innovation competition of the Federal Agency for Leap Innovations.

 

The mission of the Federal Leap Innovations Agency (SPRIN-D) is to identify, develop and fund breakthrough innovations. The recently announced challenge, "A Quantum Leap for New Antivirals",  aims to use breakthrough technologies to expand the repertoire of antiviral therapeutics so that new treatment options are available in the future. Solutions may include, for example, new approaches to broad-spectrum virustatics, but also platform technologies for the development of antiviral agents.

The Challenge is based on a three-year competition between several teams. An international jury has now selected nine out of 45 project teams for funding with a maximum of 700,000 euros each for the first year. The projects are scheduled to run for three years, but will be evaluated annually. A maximum of four project teams will remain in the third year to carry out a proof-of-concept in a relevant biological model.

Three groups from LMU's Department of Pharmacy are involved in the selected projects:

The BacDefense team (led by Prof. Dr. Chase Beisel, Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research, Würzburg) intends to use the diversity of bacterial defenses as a new source of antiviral agents. In addition to groups from the University of Heidelberg and the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland, the LMU researcher Prof. Dr. Olivia Merkel from the  Pharmaceutical Technology division is also involved in this consortium. Within this framework, she will develop new delivery systems for previously unused bacterial defense mechanisms and investigate their effectiveness and safety in in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo models of the lung.

The RNA-drugs team (led by Prof. Dr. Harald Schwalbe, Goethe University Frankfurt) will use innovative platforms to search for small molecules that bind to defined sections of viral RNA, which apparently have essential regulatory functions in viral replication. Such binding molecules should thus block the formation of viral proteins. Selected RNA-binding molecules are to be further developed to the stage of a preliminary clinical trial. In addition to other scientists from the Goethe University Frankfurt, the Technical University Darmstadt and several industrial partners, Prof. Dr. Franz Bracher and Prof. Dr. Daniel Merk from the LMU, both from the Pharmaceutical Chemistry division, are also involved in this project. Within the framework of this project, they will deal with the systematic optimization of identified lead structures, the analysis of structure-activity relationships and the in vitro characterization of the molecules.


Contact

Prof. Dr. Olivia Merkel
Department für Pharmazie, Pharmazeutische Technologie
LMU München
Butenandtstr. 5 – 13
D- 81377 München
Mail:
Web: https://www.cup.lmu.de/pb/aks/merkel/

Prof. Dr. Franz Bracher
Department für Pharmazie, Pharmazeutische Chemie
LMU München
Butenandtstr. 5 – 13
D- 81377 München
Mail:
Web: https://bracher.cup.uni-muenchen.de/

Prof. Dr. Daniel Merk
Department für Pharmazie, Pharmazeutische Chemie
LMU München
Butenandtstr. 5 – 13
D- 81377 München
Mail:
Web: https://merk.cup.uni-muenchen.de/

 

Further Informations

SPRIN-D Challenge: https://www.sprind.org/en/challenges/antiviral/