Tech Transfer Central's University-Industry Engagement Advisor highlights READDI's strategic approach to planning for future pandemics.
The collaborations under way to create vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19 are almost too numerous to mention, but one of them, a collaboration of academia, industry and government called the Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Discovery Initiative (READDI), is more ambitious than most: The global collaboration has set its goal at raising $500 million to generate five new drugs with human safety and dosing data (up to Phase II clinical trials) in five years to be ready for the next pandemic.
“Our goal is to jumpstart antiviral drug development for rapidly emerging new viruses, even before the virus emerges,” READDI asserts. The initiative will focus on three viral families (coronavirus, flavivirus and alphavirus) that cause the vast majority of epidemics and pandemics.
READDI leaders say they are using the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, or DNDi, as a model for non-profit drug research and development. Established in 2003, DNDi has developed eight treatments for five deadly diseases, which have saved millions of lives.
READDI projects will adopt what it calls “extreme open science” methods, meaning they will share drug discovery progress in real time. The open science model, they say, promotes faster drug discovery, bringing potentially life-saving drugs to market sooner and more cheaply.
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READDI is led by The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.