Accelerated introduction of a novel class of resistance-proof antiviral drugs: Strathclyde Minor Groove Binders

University of Strathclyde

Active award

Principal Investigator: Dr Fraser Scott

Year Award Started: 2020

There are few effective drugs for respiratory viral infections but previous research at the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow has found compounds effective against hepatitis C virus, which has some central biological features in common with cornavirus; this is our starting point to find clinical candidate antiviral drugs suitable for treating COVID-19. This will be done by investigating in depth our existing library of compounds known as Strathclyde Minor Groove Binders (S-MGBs). S-MGBs have proved to be highly active anti-infective compounds in antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic applications. The most advanced S-MGB is proceeding well through a phase 2a clinical trial for the treatment of Clostridium difficile associated disease and has reportedly cured patients. S-MGBs can be designed to suit particular diseases both in terms of their activity and dosage form. They have also been shown to be highly resilient to the development of resistance in the target infecting organism, a feature that makes S-MGBs potentially more valuable in antiviral applications than a vaccine. Through a combination of chemical synthesis and biological evaluation at Public Health England we will identify SMGBs suitable for clinical development within 6 months, in partnership with our industrial collaborators, MGB Biopharma.

Research area: Infections, inflammation or immunology