Antimalarial being tested as possible Ebola virus drug -project started with a tweet

Today we announced a new R21 grant from NCATS NIH awarded to Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc andTexas Biomedical Research Institute. This continues the work published in F1000Research .

What is missing from the press release and papers etc. is the back story. Why are we working on this and how did it start. Essentially it took a couple of years to get to this point, but it all started with tweets with Chris Southan and Megan Coffee discussing Ebola chemistry and screens.  This lead to Peter Madrid and the work he had done previously on identifying a few antimalarials with activity, and then on from there, that provided a dataset for machine learning. When the models pulled up pyronaridine which we had also found for Chagas disease then I knew this was getting interesting. Once we had in vitro data to confirm the prediction we had enough for the paper and then to try to fund in vivo studies. This is were it gets expensive. I have reached out to the company in South Korea that makes pyronaridine for its antimalarial combination but so far no luck..

So in summary- a few tweets, followed by a lot of sweat equity from Peter, Rob, Joel and myself and then a ~$600K grant is obtained after 2 years. It does not always happen this way!


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