Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA) – France
Principal investigator: Dr Roger Le Grand
CEA employs 15.300 people and is active in three main fields: energy, information and health technologies, defense and national security. The Fundamental Research Directorate is in charge of health research and related technologies and includes the “Institut de Biologie François Jacob”, hosting the “Infectious disease Models for Innovative Therapies” Infrastructure (IDMIT) infrastructure coordinated by Dr Roger Le Grand.
IDMIT mission is to provide the academic and industrial scientific community with state-of-the-art expertise, facilities and technologies for pre-clinical studies, particularly through its contribution to the development of NHP models of human infectious diseases and immune disorders. IDMIT scientific activities are dedicated to (i) studying pathogenesis of human infectious diseases in in vivo models (ii) characterizing innate and adaptive immune responses to human infections, (iii) deciphering interactions between hosts and pathogens, and (iv) developing pre-clinical models to test efficacy of new preventive and therapeutic strategies in non-human primates.
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) – Switzerland
Principal investigator: Giuseppe Pantaleo
As a member of the CARE consortium, CHUV will:
- Be involved in the management of the consortium as a member of the Pipeline Development Scientific Committee (PDSC)
- Generation and characterization of novel monoclonal antibodies
- Contribute to the system biology research
- Conduct clinical trials in Switzerland for the evaluation of novel mAbs and small molecules down-selected from CARE discovery program
The Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV), University of Lausanne, in Switzerland is a public non-profit institution dedicated to the improvement of human health through patient care, research and training, providing general hospital needs for the city of Lausanne and its area.
The Service of Immunology and Allergy, headed by Prof. Giuseppe Pantaleo, is an established group of investigators supported by the Swiss National Foundation, the European Union, the National Institute of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The service provides more than 5,400 outpatient consultations per year in the areas of allergy, chronic inflammatory diseases, and immunodeficiency. This research focuses on the identification of the immunological mechanisms linked to T lymphocytes, antiviral and mucosal immunity, immune tolerance in allergy and transplantation, with strong emphasis on translational research benefiting from the direct access to patients through the close collaboration with other departments at CHUV.
Eurovacc Foundation (EVF) – Switzerland
Principal investigator: Song Ding
As a member of the CARE consortium, EVF will:
- Provide support in regulatory activities and act as sponsor representative in Switzerland (when required) for clinical trials in Switzerland
- Provide project management support to research activities conducted at CHUV
The EuroVacc Foundation, created in 2002, is a non-profit organization, dedicated to develop vaccines against infectious diseases and to promote worldwide accessibility to these vaccines. EuroVacc Foundation derives from the cluster – European Vaccine Effort against HIV/AIDS – funded by the European Union under the 5th Framework Programme. The mission of EuroVacc is to actively pursue collaborations with leading vaccine developers in both public and private sectors to accelerate the development of affordable and accessible vaccines against emerging infectious diseases for use throughout the world.
Exscientia Limited (EXSCI) – United Kingdom
Principal investigator: Prof. Andrew Hopkins
As a member of the CARE consortium, Exscientia will lead the small molecule drug design activities in the CARE consortium, using the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to accelerate the pre-clinical phase of drug discovery. Exscientia will apply its full-stack AI-platform to generate and optimize the design of new medicines and the CARE chemical starting points from phenotypic, target-based and in silico screens to deliver candidates into clinical trials. Exscientia will also provide its own chemical starting points to CARE, discovered from the company’s ongoing COVID-19 screening and research.
Exscientia is a world-leading pharmatech company and the first company to use artificial intelligence to design a novel drug that has entered into human clinical trials. Exscientia has developed a full-stack AI-driven drug discovery platform from target identification to drug design and optimisation of novel drug candidates. Fusing the power of the original AI-design with the experience of seasoned drug hunters, Exscientia’s Centaur Chemist® platform enables the discovery of exquisitely optimised molecules with breakthrough productivity. In tandem, Exscientia’s Centaur Biologist® platform drives the flexible analysis and prioritisation of discovery targets across all pharmaceutically relevant disease space.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main (GUF) – Germany
Principal investigators: Prof. Sandra Ciesek & Prof. Maria Vehreschild
As a member of the CARE consortium, Goethe University Frankfurt (GUF) will be involved into the screening of potential drug candidates as well as in the coordination of the clinical trials conducted within CARE.
The University Hospital Frankfurt (UHF) at the Goethe University Frankfurt (GUF) is located in the Rhine-Main agglomeration and covers a population of approximately 4.4 million inhabitants, representing about 80 different nationalities. The Frankfurt International Airport is one of the ten biggest airports worldwide and serves as the most relevant entrance point for imported infectious diseases into Germany. The increased threat from infectious diseases in the Rhine-Main agglomeration has been known for long: hemorrhagic fever patients were first treated in Frankfurt, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), the H1N1v pandemics and most recently, 2019-nCoV were imported by air-travelling passengers. The Institute of Medical Virology, Goethe-University Frankfurt is one of the pioneering institutes in the field of isolating and developing cell culture systems for emerging viruses. We were among the first worldwide to develop cell culture techniques that enabled propagation of SARS-CoV in vitro from patients admitted to the University Hospital Frankfurt during the 2003 outbreak. We have decades of experience with detection and characterization of antiviral drugs for coronaviruses and other viruses. The Infectious Diseases Department has a longstanding clinical research tradition. After successful treatment of the first patients suffering from Marburg hemorrhagic fever and AIDS, Frankfurt became a leader in clinical research in the area of HIV infections and subsequent emerging infectious diseases. To this aim, the department integrates a specialized Clinical Trials Center with access to a phase I unit, thus facilitating design and conduct of phase I-III clinical trials.
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH (HZI) – Germany
Principal investigator: Dr. Katharina Rox
As a member of the CARE consortium, HZI will contribute its expertise in pharmacology of anti-infective compounds. We will be engaged to transition leads to candidates and finally to the patient.
Scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig and its other sites in Germany are engaged in the study of bacterial and viral infections and the body’s defence mechanisms. They have a profound expertise in natural compound research and its exploitation as a valuable source for novel anti-infectives. As member of the Helmholtz Association and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) the HZI performs translational research laying the ground for the development of new treatments and vaccines against infectious diseases.
Uniwersytet Jagiellonski (JU) – Poland
Principal investigator: Dr Krzysztof Pyrc
JU (founded in 1364 A.D.) is the best university in Poland. Malopolska Center of Biotechnology (MCB) Is a part of the JU, which functions as an R&D unit, with state of the art facilities. The MCB is the first University-based research institute and, at the same time, the excellence center. It gathers excellent internationally renowned scientists and laboratories (e.g., Max Planck and CNRS laboratories). The group has been founded in 2007 and started with diagnostics/virus detection to move in the subsequent years towards the field of virus-cell interaction. The developed tools allowed to study the entry of several human and animal viruses. For the research the tissue cultures, organoids are used to mimic the natural infection environment. Experienced in antiviral assays, both enzyme-based and cell-based.
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) – Belgium
Principal investigator 11a: Johan Neyts
Principal investigator 11b: Piet Maes
Principal investigator 11c: Lieve Naesens
Principal investigator 11d: Nico Vandaele
Principal investigator 11e: Isabelle Huys
Principal investigator 11f: Patrick Chaltin
KUL is Co-Lead of work package 1, which focuses on in vitro evaluation of the antiviral activity of novel agents developed by the CARE consortium, Co-Lead of work package 3, centralized on the selection, prioritisation and further pre-clinical development of the CARE consortium assets, and partner of work package 6, which involves the assessment of antiviral potency in a hamster model for SARS-CoV-2 infection. KUL also contributes expertise on the development of asset deployment strategies, in particular focusing on hard-to-reach patient populations.
11a: The focus of the Neyts’ laboratory (www.antivirals.be) is on the development of novel antiviral and vaccine strategies against a number of RNA viruses including flaviviruses (such as dengue and Zika), picornaviruses (rhino- and enteroviruses), coronaviruses, chikungunya virus, rabies, RSV, norovirus and others. Besides the development of small molecule inhibitors, the laboratory developed in recent years a novel vaccine strategy that allows to efficiently launch the genome of flavi-, picorna and other viruses from an easily-inducible and scalable bacterial artificial chromosome (WO2014174078A1). The lab counts 15 PhD students, 7 post-docs, 10 lab technicians, 1 research expert, 1 scientist, 1 research manager, 2 industrial research/innovation managers.
11b: The focus of the Maes lab is on the ecology of emerging zoonotic viruses, both in their natural and dead-end host context. We investigate these viruses’ clinical relevance for and the genetic susceptibility of their host, and explore and predict the mechanisms that determine the capability of these reservoir-borne viruses to switch hosts as well as their pathogenic potential.
11c: The team of L. Naesens develops new concepts to suppress influenza and coronaviruses, with a strong focus on the processes of virus entry and genome replication. This includes: (i) lead discovery; (ii) elucidating the antiviral mechanism of action at the level of the target protein, using dedicated biochemical methods; (iii) resistance profiling; (iv) for nucleoside inhibitors: unraveling the activation pathway; and (v) hit-to-lead development to the preclinical stage. The lab counts 1 PI, 1 post-doc, 2 PhD students and 3 lab technicians.
11d: The Research Center of the Access-To-Medicines (ATM - KU Leuven, Prof. N. Vandaele) models health systems with a transdisciplinary, human-centered design thinking approach, in the access-to-medicines field (https://feb.kuleuven.be/drc/Operations%20Management/misc/GSKchair). Current projects focus on immunization systems, HIV care delivery systems, cold chain distribution and last mile subsystems, prevention and emergency systems, pandemic preparedness, community health systems, among others. The health systems currently under study relate to childhood vaccination, yellow fever, rabies, HIV, TB, neglected tropical diseases (MERS, amongst others) in limited resource settings in collaboration with multiple local and global partners.
11e: The Regulatory Sciences group studies diverse legal and regulatory aspects along the continuum of a medicinal product life cycle, from discovery, development, approval, reimbursement and market adoption. The group investigates the following topics: (1) optimal regulatory pathways for therapy development (e.g. when the regulatory framework is unclear or not adapted), and market access (e.g. managed entry agreements) as well as how preferences from the society can be incorporated into these regulatory frames, what role patients may have in public-private partnerships in health sciences and what role patients may play in assessing benefit-risk balances; (2) the use of real-world evidence along the medicines life cycle, (3) public-private partnerships in clinical research, and (4) optimal ways of protecting new medicinal products by IPRs as well as balanced models for using IPR in collaborative R&D (open access models, open innovation, …). The research programme focuses on all types of medicinal products (small molecules, biologicals, advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs)). Off-patent strategies of biological products and market access of biosimilar products and regulatory policies influencing the introduction of biosimilars on the market form part of the research program. Legal strategies used in biobanks and legal mechanisms of access to biological samples and data stored biobanks are investigated as well. The research aims at proposing guidance for optimal access to medicinal products. The aim is to propose best practices for clinicians, researchers, research institutes as well as industrial partners active in this field.
11f: The Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3) (www.CD3.eu) is a multidisciplinary centre created by LRD as a technology transfer and value creation platform in the field of small molecule drug discovery. The Centre focuses on the discovery of innovative small molecule drugs by complementing the high level and ground-breaking biology present at universities. In this way, the Centre intends to further bridge the gap between academic biomedical research and the needs of the pharma and biotech industry.
KU LEUVEN is the largest university in Belgium in terms of research funding and expenditure, ranking 45th in the Times Higher Education ranking (2020) of worldwide universities and 1st as European University in the Reuters Top 100 of the World’s most innovative institutions. KU Leuven ranks 6th in the league of HES institutions participating in FP7 and takes up the 9th place of European institutions hosting ERC grants. KU Leuven employs ~9.000 researchers on its academic staff. KU Leuven Research & Development (LRD) is the technology transfer office (TTO) of KU Leuven where a multidisciplinary team of experts guides researchers in their interaction with industry and society, and the valorisation of their research results (101 spin offs).
Academisch Ziekenhuis Leiden (LUMC) – the Netherlands
Principal investigator: Prof. Eric Snijder
Leiden University Medical Center is involved in six of CARE’s work packages, covering the complete antiviral SARS-CoV-2 drug developmental pipeline from target and hit identification and mechanism-of-action studies, to preclinical development and studies on virus-host-drug interactions in animal models and humans, to ultimately the evaluation of candidate drugs in phase I and II clinical trials.
Prof. Eric Snijder heads the LUMC Molecular Virology team that focuses on replication, evolution, virus-host interactions, and molecular pathogenesis of (emerging) positive-stranded RNA viruses, including coronaviruses (SARS-CoV-1/2, MERS-CoV), alphaviruses, and flaviviruses https://www.lumc.nl/org/mm/research/virology/RNAviruses/. The group has extensive experience with safely handling these agents in its biosafety level-3 facilities, including reverse genetics to generate viral mutants and expression vectors. Within a variety of public-private partnerships, the group continues to translate its knowledge into antiviral strategies, including the development of new virus inhibitors (Dr. Martijn van Hemert) and vaccine prototypes (Dr. Marjolein Kikkert), currently in particular targeting SARS-CoV-2. Since 2020 the team is Involved in six public-private projects on development of antiviral drugs or vaccines and Prof. Snijder coordinates the EU-funded SCORE consortium that aims to develop antiviral drugs against SARS-CoV-2 (http://www.score-cov.eu).
The core replicative enzymes of +RNA viral ‘copy machines’ are primary targets for rational antiviral drug development. The LUMC team studies these using bioinformatics, in vitro biochemical assays, structural biology (in collaboration), imaging (advanced cryo-EM) and molecular virology. In particular the poorly characterized and unusually large set of replicative functions of coronaviruses and their relatives are explored. The RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) and associated viral and host factors, including those co-determining RdRp fidelity, are being characterized. This addresses general mechanisms underlying both viral RNA synthesis and RNA virus evolution. Using biochemistry and advanced cryo-electron microscopy approaches (in collaboration with the LUMC Cell and Chemical Biology Department), the ultrastructure of viral replication machineries is also studied in situ. Special attention is given to the replication organelles that all +RNA viruses induce in infected cells by transforming host endomembranes. These replication organelles are also studied in the context of innate immune evasion, other interactions with host cell metabolism, and antiviral drug development. +RNA virus-host interaction studies include innate immune responses and mechanisms to counteract or evade them. In particular coronaviruses have incorporated a range of such functions in their unusually large genome. Protein structure-based inactivation of such functions is explored to develop live attenuated vaccine candidates. Viral enzymes and host factors critical for viral replication are studied to develop both direct-acting and host-directed antiviral drugs. In both approaches, the discovery of pan-viral inhibitors, blocking the replication of larger groups of viruses, is a central theme. LUMC contributes its theoretical and experimental knowledge of +RNA viruses and their hosts, using a range of assay systems, including regular cell lines, primary lung cell culture models (with the LUMC Department of Pulmonology), and animal models.
Clinical trial studies at the LUMC with antiviral SARS-CoV-2 compounds will be coordinated by our clinical specialists: Dr. Anna Roukens, MD Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases specialist. She has already been PI on many clinical trials concerning vaccine research. A detailed analysis of the virus evolution in response to antiviral drug treatment of the host will be supervised by Dr. Jutte de Vries. As Clinical virologist she will be our PI on viral metagenomics, aiming at pathogen characterization in clinical samples by both shotgun and targeted metagenomic next-generation sequencing (NGS).
Leiden University was founded in 1575, and is the oldest University in The Netherlands with 6700 staff and 30.000 students. The academic hospital and faculty of medicine merged into the LUMC (Leiden University Medical Center), which allowed the successful combining of patient care, research and training. The Virology research team of the LUMC Department of Medical Microbiology forms the foundation from which we contribute to the CARE consortium, based on its 30-year track record of ground-breaking multidisciplinary research on coronaviruses.
Servicio Madrileno De Salud (SERMAS) – Spain
Principal investigator: Alberto Borobia Pérez
SERMAS is the body in charge of the healthcare system at Madrid Autonomous Region. It encompasses 38 institutions and counts with 430 Primary Care Centres for a population that exceeds 6 million residents.
In the CARE project, the clinical trials unit of La Paz University Hospital will be the one participating as a National clinical site.
By being the Spanish local partner of the project, it will be in charge of the start up, follow up, closure and local coordination of the trials developed in Spain.
IdiPAZ institute concentrates the clinical, translational and experimental research of HULP. The institute harbours 55 research groups distributed in six main research areas: neurosciences; cardiovascular; infectious diseases and immunity; organ system pathologies; cancer and human molecular genetics; and surgery, transplant and health technologies. And a series of common core platforms (Clinical Trials, Molecular Medicine, 3D printing etc.) aimed to ensure the synergies among the research groups and with the hospital wards.
Nuvisan ICB GmbH (NUVISAN) - Germany
Principal investigator: Anke Mueller-Fahrnow
As a member of the CARE consortium, INNOVATION CAMPUS BERLIN - NUVISAN will contribute medicinal chemistry and DMPK expertise. We will lead a chemistry team with members from different partner organizations working on hit-to-lead and lead optimization projects to generate future treatment options and we will provide DMPK characterization for promising new compounds.
The INNOVATION CAMPUS BERLIN (NUVISAN ICB GmbH) is a newly founded dynamic contract research institute with about 400 employees founded by the acquisition of a complete research unit from Bayer. Decades of experience and top-notch expertise in the field of early pharmaceutical research combined with the spirit of a medium-sized, family owned company create an innovative campus of excellence for early Pharma research.
The INNOVATION CAMPUS BERLIN is part of the NUVISAN Pharma Services Group. The NUVISAN group generates sales of approx. € 55 million with currently about 550 highly qualified employees. It originated from LAB GmbH over 40 years ago and has been operating under the name NUVISAN with its headquarters in Neu-Ulm since 2010. The NUVISAN group as a Clinical Research Organization (CRO) and Contract Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) has six sites in Germany and France (Neu-Ulm, Berlin, Grafing, Gauting, Waltrop and Sophia-Antipolis) in addition to monitoring activities with offices in Argentina, Peru and Brazil as well as in the USA. After integration of the ICB, which was completed on 1.7.2020, the NUVISAN Group now employs more than 1.000 people.
Scifeon ApS (SCIFEON) – Denmark
Principal investigator: Dr. Thomas P. Boesen
As a member of the CARE consortium, the SCIFEON team is contributing to WP8 works exclusively with development, implementation and customization of research data management solutions. We are experienced in implementation and operation of systems for remote scientific laboratories.
Scifeon ApS is a Danish business specialized in research informatics, including data management and workflow management. Most of our team has a life science background or experience from informatics in the life science industry. Scifeon supplies a research digitalization platform, the Scifeon Platform, which can be used for establishing a highly customized research data management system and offers consulting services to implement the platform.
Université d’Aix-Marseille (AMU) – France
Principal investigator: Dr. Bruno Canard
As a member of the CARE consortium, AMU’s main effort will be in WP2, in which they will contribute to express, purify and crystallize key SARS-CoV-2 and other representative CoV proteins needed along the project. This will i) help to define activity and mechanism of action of hits identified in WP1; ii) help to expand hits into leads guided by WP3 efforts; iii) allow to perform focused target-based assays for the identification of pan-coronavirus compounds transferred to WP1 and WP3.
In WP1, they will connect their data and expertise to ensure optimum concerted inhibitor discovery; in WP3, the same type of iterative collaboration will allow optimized SAR-guided medicinal chemistry and structure-based drug-design.
Aix-Marseille University (AMU) was officially opened on January 1, 2012, merging the University of Provence, University of the Mediterranean and Paul Cézanne University. All the academic fields that may be studied in France are represented at AMU, which has five major divisions, structured into 19 faculties, schools, and institutes. AMU has nearly 76,000 students including 10,000 international students, 7,680 faculty and staff members, 12 doctoral schools and nearly 3,650 PhD students. AMU is home to 132 research facilities – 118 research units and 14 federative research structures – linked to France’s biggest research institutions (CNRS, INSERM, IRD, INRA, CEA). AMU is the largest in terms of its student body, its faculty and staff, and its budget in the whole French-speaking world. AMU ranks 1rst French university (43/463 ranked) at the Times Higher Education "University impact Ranking". Under the Horizon 2020 programme, AMU won 82 projects: it hosts 12 MSCA-IF, coordinates or is involved as partner in 13 MSCA-ITN, is partner in 2 MSCA-RISE actions and coordinates or is involved in 14 ERC grants.
The Architecture et Fonction des Macromolécules Biologiques (AFMB) laboratory is a center of structural biology, organized in two research Departments supported by a state-of-the- art technical platform and various services which counts approximately 84 persons, out of which 40 hold a permanent position. The AFMB laboratory is a component of the federative structure “Infectiopôle, du Malade à la Molécule” and has made important contributions to the field of structural biology through several French and European programs aimed at implementing a multidisciplinary approach to document the architectures of proteins and their functional implications. The lab is at the forefront of structural proteomic, with a strong emphasis on virology, and has developed an operating structural proteomics platform "from gene to structure", which includes domain design, parallel and robotized cloning, expression, purification and crystallization steps of targets of interest.
The University of Edinburgh (UEDIN) – United Kingdom
Principal investigator: Prof Jürgen Haas
The University of Edinburgh is one of the largest and most successful universities in the UK with an international reputation as a centre of academic excellence. Its international character is reflected in its student population, its truly international staff and in its joint research and other links with overseas universities, institutes, companies and governments. The University is the leading research university in Scotland and is amongst the top 20 universities world-wide. Almost all members of staff at the university are research active.
The Division of Infection Medicine at the Edinburgh Medical School is focusing on molecular, translational and clinical aspects of viral and bacterial infections. Jurgen Haas is a Professor for Viral Genomics, Head of Division and honorary NHS Consultant Virologist at the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh. His research focuses on virus-host interactions that are crucial for the pathogenesis and affect susceptibility of a range of different viruses. He has worked on SARS-CoV and has identified cyclosporines as important inhibitors for CoVs.
University of Hamburg (UHAM) – Germany
Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Chris Meier
As a member of the CARE consortium, the UHAM will contribute to the WP by bringing in the expertise of preparing RdRp alternate substrates or inhibitors. We have extensive experience in such syntheses and we have developed new chemistries to achieve that. Moreover, we will contribute by preparing model substrates and tools for assay development based on modified nucleotides, particularly nucleoside triphosphates by fluorescence labelling. Moreover, we are specialized in converting highly polar nucleotides into membrane-permeable compounds with the aim of a selective intracellular delivery. Particularly, the needed selectivity between the viral polymerase enzyme and the host cell polymerases is always critical in terms of toxicity.
In WP3 they will contribute with their expertise in medicinal chemistry to convert early hit compounds into more druggable and more active compounds.
Universität Hamburg, with its >43000 students and >12800 staff members, is the largest institution for research and education in northern Germany. The University boasts numerous interdisciplinary projects in a broad range of fields and an extensive partner network of leading regional, national, and international higher education and research institutions. In 2019 UHAM was one of 11 German universities to receive a national ranking of “excellent”. One of the focus research area at UHAM is “Infection Research“.
The Department of Chemistry of Universität Hamburg is one of the largest chemistry departments in Germany and one of the key state training and research centers for chemistry in northern Germany. We offer programs in chemistry, food chemistry, pharmaceutics, molecular life sciences, and nanosciences as well as teacher training in chemistry, cosmetic science, food science, and chemical engineering. In the field of research, we are part of the Cluster of Excellence Center for Ultrafast Imaging (CUI and AIM) and have numerous core research areas.
Universitaet zu Luebeck (UzL) – Germany
Principal investigator: Prof. Rolf Hilgenfeld
As a member of the CARE consortium, the University of Lübeck (UzL) will contribute its 20-year expertise in structural biology of coronaviruses. We will provide highly purified samples of coronavirus proteins for testing candidate inhibitors discovered by the project partners and determine three-dimensional structures for drug design.
The University of Lübeck (UzL) is a modern teaching and research university focusing on medicine and life sciences. In international rankings, the university commonly receives excellent positions. Researchers at UzL's Institute of Molecular Medicine are specialized in RNA technologies and structural virology.
Universiteit Utrecht (UU) – the Netherlands
Principal investigator: Prof. Frank van Kuppeveld
As a member of the CARE consortium, Utrecht University will contribute its long-standing expertise in coronavirus research to the identification and development of (broad-protective) antiviral compounds and protective antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses.
Founded in 1636, Utrecht University is one of the largest research universities of Europe, with over thirty thousand students and a staff of more than six thousand. We invest in creating the leaders of the future through innovative education of the highest quality, as reflected by the University's consistently high position in international rankings. Dedicated to performing groundbreaking research aimed at resolving large global issues, our culture of cooperation is a breeding ground for innovation, new insights and social impact.
Eidgenoessisches Departement des Innern (EDI-IVI) – Switzerland
Principal investigator: Prof. Volker Thiel
As a member of the CARE consortium the Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI) will contribute its long-standing expertise in emerging viral diseases, coronavirus research, and animal models of viral diseases.
The Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI), with sites in Mittelhäusern and Bern, is a research institute under the aegis of the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO). It is the only high-security laboratory in Switzerland with the capacity to diagnose and research highly contagious animal diseases (such as foot-and-mouth disease or swine fever). The Swiss Rabies Centre in Bern is affiliated to the IVI. The mission of the IVI is to perform basic and applied research as an important basis for the control of animal diseases and zoonoses and for education and training.
Inserm Transfert SA (IT) – France
Principal investigator: Dr. Florence Chung
As a member of the CARE consortium, Inserm Transfert will act in the Project Management Office, assisting the coordinator in the overall management, supporting Inserm for the legal, administrative and financial management of the consortium.
Founded in 2000, Inserm Transfert is the private subsidiary of the French National Institute of the Health and Medical Research (INSERM), dedicated to technology transfer (i.e. from invention disclosure to industrial partnership). Inserm Transfert runs a comprehensive set of technology transfer activities from classical value chain activities to unique solutions:
Its Collaborative Research Funding department supports the set-up and management of large-scale projects in biomedical research notably including infectious diseases, epidemiology and public health.
AbbVie Inc. (ABBV) – United States of America
Principal investigator: Jochen Salfeld
AbbVie Inc. is a global research-based biopharmaceutical company committed to developing innovative, advanced therapies for some of the world’s most complex and critical conditions. AbbVie’s mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to markedly improve treatments across general medicine and four primary therapeutic areas: Oncology, Immunology, Virology, and Neuroscience. Key technologies and platforms span the whole pharma value chain for both biologics and small molecules.
Astellas Pharma Europe BV (ASTELLAS) – the Netherlands
Principal investigator: Hans van Leeuwen
As a member of the CARE Consortium, Astellas is providing access to materials from our compounds library in Japan for investigation.
Astellas is a pharmaceutical company committed to turning innovative science into value for patients. Changing tomorrow is the ethos that guides everything we do.
Across our areas of therapeutic expertise, we use our agility to match scientific breakthroughs to the unmet medical needs of people around the world, and the many healthcare professionals and caregivers who support them.
Astellas invests in new medicines, technologies and therapeutic areas, and builds partnerships and networks with others who share our vision to improve the future of medicine.
Astellas is working at the forefront of healthcare change and the values of patient focus, ownership, results, openness and integrity are the foundation of our culture.
Astellas Pharma Europe BV is the legal entity representing the Astellas group in the Netherlands.
Bayer AG (BAG) – Germany
Principal investigator: Stefan Jaroch
As a member of the CARE consortium, Bayer will screen physically and virtually compound libraries against a COVID-19 protease target in order to identify hit compounds for further development.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2019, the Group employed around 104,000 people and had sales of 43.5 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.9 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.3 billion euros.
Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) – Germany
Principal investigator: Dr Cyrille Kuhn
As a member of the CARE consortium, Boehringer Ingelheim will be leading the work stream of the consortium focusing on the development of virus neutralizing antibodies. Furthermore the company will provide antiviral molecules from its legacy HIV and HCV portfolio and small molecule candidates from a complete screen of its molecule library.
Making new and better medicines for humans and animals is at the heart of what we do. Our mission is to create breakthrough therapies that change lives. Since its founding in 1885, Boehringer Ingelheim is independent and family-owned. We have the freedom to pursue our long-term vision, looking ahead to identify the health challenges of the future and targeting those areas of need where we can do the most good.
As a world-leading, research-driven pharmaceutical company, more than 51,000 employees create value through innovation daily for our three business areas: Human Pharma, Animal Health, and Biopharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing. In 2019, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of 19 billion euros. Our significant investment of almost 3.5 billion euros in R&D drives innovation, enabling the next generation of medicines that save lives and improve quality of life.
We realize more scientific opportunities by embracing the power of partnership and diversity of experts across the life-science community. By working together, we accelerate the delivery of the next medical breakthrough that will transform the lives of patients now, and in generations to come.
University of Dundee (UNIVDUN) – United Kingdom
Principal investigator: Professor Paul Wyatt
The University of Dundee’s world-leading expertise in drug discovery within its Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) will be deployed in the quest to find antiviral treatments for Covid-19 and future coronaviruses. Using compounds identified through its screening of COVID targets and by other members of the CARE Consortium, the DDU will work within WP3 and with other CARE partners to develop candidate drugs to inhibit the development of the disease. The DDU will take a broad target-based approach incorporating state of the art, computational, high throughput chemistry and profiling studies to accelerate compound optimisation.
The University of Dundee’s Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) was established in 2006 to translate world-class biology research into novel drug targets and candidate drugs. The group works across multiple disease areas and collaborates with global partners to address unmet medical needs.
Enyo Pharma SA (ENYO) – France
Principal investigator: Dr Jacky Vonderscher
As a member of the CARE consortium, we are contributing our unique library of compounds which are targeting the human protein network involved in the replication of viruses. This library has already shown an incredible hit rate against many viruses including some RNA viruses close to the Coronaviruses. We will also bring our know-how by building and characterizing a comprehensive view of Coronavirus and Human protein interactions. We will thus participate in the understanding of the physiopathology of the infection as well as the target and the mechanism of action of the selected compounds.
ENYO Pharma is a privately held, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company incorporated in January 2014 and headquartered in Lyon, France. The Company’s most advanced compound, Vonafexor (EYP001), is a small molecule (non-Bile Acid FXR agonist) therapeutic in Phase II clinical development for the treatment of Chronic Hepatitis B and NASH. EYP001 and the Company’s discovery programs are based on a proprietary technology platform that uses a virus bio-mimetism approach to enable the rapid discovery of first-in-class host-based drug candidates with good safety profiles. ENYO’s founders are a mix of virus-host protein interactions experts from the French Infectiology Research Center in Lyon and pharmaceutical industry executives with an impressive track record in drug development.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) – United States of America
Principal investigator: Ken Duncan
As a member of the CARE consortium, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will contribute its scientific expertise in-kind to multiple workstreams across drug repurposing and novel drug identification, translation and development. The foundation will also coordinate to ensure alignment and complementarity with the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator to avoid duplication of efforts.
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
Global Health Drug Discovery Institute (GHDDI) – China
Principal investigator: Sheng Ding
As a member of the CARE consortium, GHDDI (Global Health Drug Discovery Institute) will work together with Dundee University and other partners in the hit-to-lead effort (WP3) and contribute our expertise in medicinal chemistry once any hits are generated from WP1 or WP2. Additionally, GHDDI would like to leverage internal findings to help consortium projects whenever necessary – since the COVID-19 outbreak in January we have initiated a series of efforts in drug repurposing, AI-based data minding, model generation and virtual screening as well as discovery projects of anti-viral small molecules, neutralizing antibodies and vaccines.
The Global Health Drug Discovery Institute (GHDDI) was jointly founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Tsinghua University and Beijing Municipal Government in 2016. As a not-for-profit and first-of-its-kind research organization in China, GHDDI is committed to transforming the lives of individuals and families who suffer from untreated illness with innovative therapeutics.
At GHDDI, we focus on translational research – from the bench to the bedside. Our scientists strive to discover new drugs and develop technologies to tackle global disease challenges that threaten populations in need. Our focus areas include tuberculosis, malaria, helminth infections, EED, HBV and COVID-19 etc.
Novartis Pharma AG (NOVARTIS) – Switzerland
Principal investigator: Jennifer Leeds
As a member of the CARE consortium, Novartis will contribute a carefully curated library of approximately 1,300 small molecules with antiviral activity to the CARE Project. These will be screened against SARS-CoV-2. In addition, Novartis is contributing expertise in-kind to the pharmacokinetic and preclinical safety work packages.
Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Novartis products reach nearly 800 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 109,000 people of more than 140 nationalities work at Novartis around the world.
Pfizer LTD. (Pfizer) – United Kingdom
Principal investigator: Rienk Pypstra
As a member of the CARE consortium, and one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies with an established heritage in antiviral and antibiotic development, Pfizer is bringing its scientific expertise to this collaboration, as well as the potential of providing compounds from the company’s compound library.
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us.
Merck KGaA (MKDG) – Germany
Principal investigator: Marta Helana Lesko
As a member of CARE consortium, Merck will be involved in different workstreams, repositioning existing medications for the current pandemic and providing drug discovery expertise to the consortium to help with development of novel anti-viral compounds for potential future Coronavirus outbreaks by contributing compound libraries and optimization capabilities.
Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 57,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2019, Merck generated sales of € 16.2 billion in 66 countries.
Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials.
University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo) – Germany
Principal investigator: Albert Osterhaus
The University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo) is a nationally and internationally recognized institution of higher education known for its excellence in veterinary science and its interdisciplinary focus. The laboratories of the group of Prof. Osterhaus and Prof. Rimmelzwaan are fully equipped to perform research and development relating to molecular virology, immunology and vaccinology in the field of One Health Science.
The Research Centre for Emerging Infections and Zoonoses (RIZ) is a ‘One Health’ research centre embedded in the University of Veterinary Medicine Foundation, Hannover (TiHo). RIZ research focuses on the identification and characterization of emerging animal and human viruses, and development of intervention strategies to control their impact. RIZ was founded in 2014, has 25 employees and also serves as laboratory for >50 One Health guest researchers. In this project, RIZ is contributing to animal experimentation. RIZ has state-of-the-art research facilities, with more than 2000 square meters of BSL2 laboratories divided over three floors with a total working area of more than 40 laboratories, equipped with the most modern equipment. In addition, it has BSL2 and BSL3 laboratories, including small and large animal facilities. This includes fully equipped virology and immunological laboratories. RIZ-Virology is affiliated with national and international virology organizations, including DZIF, One Health Platform and The Global Virus Network. In addition, RIZ participates in EU IMI ZAPI and CEPI MERS-CoV.
Ai-biopharma SAS (AIB) – France
Principal investigator: Dr. Cyril B. Dousson
As a member of the CARE consortium, Ai-biopharma will bring its viral polymerase inhibitor expertise and will provide for screening a focused small molecule antiviral library.
Ai-biopharma is a private biotech company that was founded in 2018 with the mission to become a leader in the treatment of viral infections and liver diseases. Ai-biopharma is focused on the discovery and development of a liver targeted combination therapy for chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and the discovery of Coronavirus polymerase inhibitors. Ai-biopharma’ strategy is to combine its deep expertise and decades of drug discovery experience its scientific team has acquired in viral disease, particularly viral hepatitis and HIV, with its Artificial Intelligence and Chemoinformatic Platform to rapidly advance its pipeline of best-in-class small molecules.
AiCuris Anti-infective Cures GmbH (AiCuris) - Germany
Principal investigator: Dr. Alexander Birkmann
As a member of the CARE consortium, AiCuris brings over 50 compounds from previous antiviral projects for biological screening. In addition, AiCuris will provide expert personnel for virtual screening approaches as well as for structure-based, AI-driven design of novel compounds. Should a compound be successfully identified as a promising candidate, AiCuris will conduct and support preclinical ADME and PK studies for these selected compounds.
AiCuris was founded in 2006 as a spin-off from Bayer and focuses on the discovery and development of drugs targeting infectious diseases. SANTO Holding is the Company’s majority investor. PREVYMIS® (Letermovir), a first-in-class non-nucleoside cytomegalovirus (CMV) inhibitor acting via a novel mechanism of action, was licensed to MSD in 2012 and is approved in the EU, the USA, Japan and other parts of the world for use in bone marrow transplants for the prevention of HCMV infections in adults who receive an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant. The Company is developing drugs for the treatment of viruses such as human CMV, herpes simplex virus (HSV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and adenoviruses. In the field of antibacterials, AiCuris seeks to develop innovative treatment options for life-threatening, multidrug-resistant, hospital-treated pathogens.
Institut de Recherches Internationales Servier (Servier) – France
Principal investigator: Antoine Bril
As a member of the CARE consortium, Servier is providing pre-clinical and clinical ready compounds to contribute to the development of an emergency response against COVID-19 and a diversity set of small molecule candidates from its libraries as part of the long term strategy against coronaviruses. Servier also bring lead optimisation and preclinical expertise.
Servier is an international pharmaceutical company governed by a non-profit foundation, with its headquarters in France (Suresnes). With a strong international presence in 149 countries and a total revenue of 4.6 billion euros in 2019, Servier employs 22,000 people worldwide. Entirely independent, the Group invests on average 25% of its total revenue (excluding generics) every year in research and development and uses all its profits for its development. Corporate growth is driven by Servier’s constant search for innovation in five areas of excellence: cardiovascular, immune-inflammatory, and neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and diabetes, as well as by its activities in high-quality generic drugs. Servier also offers eHealth solutions beyond drug development.
VRI-Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm) – Coordinator – France
Principal investigator 1a/Coordinator: Yves Lévy (VRI), U955
Principal investigator 1b: Bruno Lina, U1111
Principal investigator 1c: France Mentré, U1137
Principal investigator 1d: Rodolphe Thiébaut, U1219
As a member of the CARE consortium, Inserm will:
- Be involved in the management of the project as coordinator
- Contribute to the clinical studies preparation and serve as clinical centres in France
- Study the viral pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2 (virology, immunology, genetic) and integrate all the data to identify immune markers contributing to the host immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection and their correlations with clinical and virological outcomes
- Set-up and maintain the clinical trial database (clinical and biological data)
Founded in 1964, INSERM (French national institute of health and medical research) is a public scientific and technological institute that operates under the joint authority of the French Ministries of Health and Research. Its mission is to facilitate the exchange between basic, clinical, therapeutic and public health research leveraging on its scientific expertise in several fields and covering a very large spectrum of human diseases. In CARE, Inserm mobilizes four teams: in Créteil, Lyon, Paris and Bordeaux.
The Vaccine Research Institute (VRI) Inserm U955 was created in 2011, to pursue the HIV vaccine program of the ANRS (French National Agency of Research on HIV and hepatitis). The VRI is a network of national and international clinical and research teams sharing the goal to develop innovative therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines and tools to analyze biological responses to immunotherapies and vaccines. The ultimate mission of the VRI is to conduct research to accelerate the development of an effective vaccine against HIV/AIDS and (re)emerging infectious diseases.
Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) – Project Leader - Belgium
Principal investigator / project leader: Marnix Van Loock
As Project Leader of the CARE consortium, Janssen will:
- Be part of the leadership and management of the project;
- Co-lead the advancement of drug discovery phenotypic virus-cell-based assays and clinical trial studies;
- Contribute to target-based drug discovery, the identification of small molecule preclinical candidates and pre-clinical in vivo studies.
About Johnson & Johnson
At Johnson & Johnson, we believe good health is the foundation of vibrant lives, thriving communities and forward progress. That’s why for more than 130 years, we have aimed to keep people well at every age and every stage of life. Today, as the world’s largest and most broadly-based healthcare company, we are committed to using our reach and size for good. We strive to improve access and affordability, create healthier communities, and put a healthy mind, body and environment within reach of everyone, everywhere. We are blending our heart, science and ingenuity to profoundly change the trajectory of health for humanity. Learn more about J&J at www.jnj.com and our multi-pronged coronavirus response at www.jnj.com/coronavirus. Follow us at @JNJNews and @JNJGlobalHealth.
Takeda Pharmaceuticals International AG (Takeda) – Project co-Leader - Switzerland
Principal investigator / Project co-leader: Kumar Singh Saikatendu
As a member of the CARE consortium, Takeda will:
- Be involved in the leadership and management of the project as the project co-leader;
- Be involved in the leadership of target-based drug discovery and pre-clinical in vivo studies;
- Contribute to other aspects including the identification of lead small molecule candidates; the generation and characterisation of monoclonal antibodies; and systems biology research.
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited is a global, values-based, R&D-driven biopharmaceutical leader headquartered in Japan, committed to bringing Better Health and a Brighter Future to patients by translating science into highly-innovative medicines. Takeda focuses its R&D efforts on four therapeutic areas: Oncology, Gastroenterology (GI), Rare Diseases and Neuroscience. We also make targeted R&D investments in Plasma-Derived Therapies and Vaccines. We are focusing on developing highly innovative medicines that contribute to making a difference in people's lives by advancing the frontier of new treatment options and leveraging our enhanced collaborative R&D engine and capabilities to create a robust, modality-diverse pipeline. Our employees are committed to improving quality of life for patients and to working with our partners in health care in approximately 80 countries and regions.