European Lead Factory Launches Multiple Approaches Aiming to Discover Novel SARS-CoV-2 Antiviral Molecules

The European Lead Factory (ELF) offers a pharmacological strategy to aid in the discovery of new candidate molecules against SARS-CoV-2 causing COVID-19. The strategy is tailored to the needs of academic teams or SMEs in Europe and removes two important roadblocks: access to unique, novel, drug-like chemical starting points and the search for a feasible economic model to develop antiviral molecules.

After accepting the first COVID-19 Screening Proposal from the Pivot Park Screening Centre in July, we are proud to announce that the ELF portfolio has been strengthened by an additional initiative from Bayer AG to fight COVID-19.

Bayer will use its extensive experience to identify protease inhibitors in the ELF compound collection. Bayer is also engaged in the recently launched Corona Accelerated R&D in Europe (CARE) project. Both IMI projects, ELF and CARE, facilitate academic teams and SMEs to collaborate on chemical starting points that result from their screening ideas and to partner with pharma companies to develop them.

With that aim, the ELF Target Recruitment Team has proactively reached out to more than 35 mechanistic virologists in Europe to invite them to translate their ideas into screening proposals and to submit them to the ELF. It might be their first step in the discovery and development of potential SARS-CoV-2 or pan-CoV antiviral drugs.