We need new anti-viral medicines more than ever

It is estimated that the animal kingdom harbours more than 1.5m viruses. Humans are increasingly being exposed to these novel viral threats through deforestation and other activities, and the ever greater movement of people and goods that comes with globalisation is encouraging the dissemination of disease. The world is facing a growing medical challenge for which new vaccines and small molecule therapeutics are sorely needed.

It has been 20 years since the first neuraminidase inhibitor, zanamivir, was approved for the treatment and prevention of flu, marking an important step towards managing pandemic viruses with small molecule therapeutics. But zanamivir has its limitations and viruses including influenza, parainfluenza, adenovirus, norovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) continue to present a medical challenge in both industrialised and developing countries.

Climate change is also expected to make containing outbreaks of infectious disease more difficult. Rising temperatures increase the likelihood of disease spread by improving vector survival and reproductive success: already, the geographical ranges of Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya, and yellow fever have expanded. As new infectious diseases emerge and existing ones spread, there has never been a more important time to identify new potential treatments and vaccines.

Vaccine development is not without its challenges, however. It is costly and labour intensive and pathogen evolution can confer resistance. Moreover, safety concerns have discouraged the development and use of vaccines for certain conditions such as Lyme disease. It is therefore vital that small molecule therapeutics continue to be developed as an additional strategy to vaccines.

Sygnature Discovery works to enable the development of new medicines. Our experts in Medicinal Chemistry, Bioscience and DMPK facilitate therapeutic development from synthesis, screening, pharmacokinetics and metabolic analysis, all the way through to clinical trial. This process has been recently enhanced by the installation of a high throughput screening system (HTS).

We provide a range of assays that will propel new anti-virals and vaccines into clinical studies. These range from plaque neutralisation and cytopathic effect assays, virus-induced cytokine secretion assays, immunocytochemistry, and RT-qPCR. We also have the capacity to develop bespoke assays as required.

Coupled with in-house virology expertise, Sygnature Discovery has the tools, skills and knowledge required to support anti-viral development into the future. We enable the success of drug discovery projects and increase the likelihood of treatments that make a significant difference in the life of patients world-wide.

We continually engage with our industry on a range of drug discovery topics. If you’d like to discuss anti-infectives, our bioscience capabilities, or any topic related to drug discovery, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch by using any of the contact forms.