Moleculomics, based at Swansea University Medical School, has been awarded funding from Innovate UK – the UK’s innovation agency, for technology development to find drug treatments for Covid-19 and other viral threats. The new in silico platform, GRASP – Generic Rapid Antiviral Screening Platform, will seek to get ahead of emerging strains of the virus by simulating the effects of mutations before they happen, and screening the new protein targets against libraries of drug compounds.
Dr Jonathan Mullins, CEO at Moleculomics, explained “the SARS-CoV-2 virus is mutating, though not particularly rapidly, there are several strains in circulation around the globe and the virus is still undergoing about 25 mutations per year. It is likely in time that these mutations will affect viral structure, drug specificity and pathogenicity, opening up new opportunities for drug targeting, for the current pandemic and future viral threats”.
The company has recently developed the Human3DProteome platform (https://human3dproteome.com/) that contains the 3D structures of all the proteins (receptors, transporters, enzymes etc.) of the human body and a ground-breaking Hit2Lead Portal (https://h2lportal.com/) , the first fully automated portal that provides a one-stop-shop for protein modelling and drug screening at all scales from single receptor or single compound jobs to whole proteome screening, but this is the first dedicated antiviral screening platform to be developed by the company.
Karl Austin-Muttitt, research scientist working on the project, added “there is a good deal of in silico screening going on, but we don’t know of anyone else who is simulating the impacts of future potential mutations, so this is exciting news for us”.
The team will be working in close collaboration with academic and industrial partners, and the screening results relevant to treatment of Covid-19 disease, featuring interactions with approved drugs and wider chemical space, will be openly shared with partners and on the project website from September. Those interested in partnering, sharing information etc., please contact firstname.lastname@example.org