— The Purdue University-affiliated startup is validating a non-immunological targeting agent for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 developed as part of its ongoing focus on ligands and infectious diseases —
AUSTIN, Texas, April 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Research Bridge Partners—a not-for-profit that enhances the societal and economic returns on America’s investment in research universities by bridging mid-continent university innovators and commercialization resources nationally—announced the investment of seed capital in Eradivir, Inc.
Building on its extraordinary track record of inventing non-immunological targeting ligands and optimizing those ligands to carry drugs to specific targets, Eradivir has designed two ligands with high specificity and avidity for a unique domain of the spike protein found on most coronaviruses including COVID-19.
“The current leading targeting approaches use monoclonal antibodies to ‘decorate’ the virus and stimulate the body’s immune system to attack the virus and infected cells,” said Philip S. Low. “However, there is evidence that over-stimulating the immune system against this virus can cause clinical problems in late-stage COVID-19 infections, including death by cytokine storm. Fortunately, our technology can take advantage of the body’s immune system with little concern for overstimulation.”
Martin Low added: “Because of our targeting capabilities we can deliver an optimal payload specifically to the virus and potentially host cell with little or no safety concerns.”
Research Bridge Partners’ initial program-related investment of $100,000, which is the first seed capital raised by Eradivir, will be used to generate additional data demonstrating the validity of these ligands and their degree of optimization for targeting the coronavirus. This validation and optimization exercise will either confirm the potential of these ligands against COVID-19 or will invalidate the opportunity.
“The scientific team has a proven track record of building commercially successful targeting ligands, including Endocyte, which Novartis purchased in 2018 for $2.1 billion,” said Isaac Barchas, co-founder and CEO of Research Bridge Partners. “Since early March launch, the team suspended its parallel efforts in influenza, which have show exceptionally strong results in animal models, and has since designed the two ligands with high specificity to coronavirus protein spike.”
About Research Bridge Partners Research Bridge Partners is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) that enhances the societal and economic returns on America’s investment in research universities by bridging mid-continent university innovators and commercialization resources nationally. Founded by Isaac Barchas and Reid Hoffman, the organization manages a seed fund that accepts only program-related investment from other charities in furthering its tax-exempt charitable, education and scientific purposes. In so doing, Research Bridge Partners mobilizes mission-focused resources to advance science in the public interest through strategic startup creation at mid-continent research universities.
About Eradivir Eradivir builds specifically targeted therapeutics for infectious diseases. Eradivir spun out of Purdue University in 2020 based on a multi-year research and technology development program in Philip Low’s lab there. The company has developed a universal platform against influenza (including strains of H1N1 and H3N2) that have demonstrated 100% survival in 100x LD mouse models. Eradivir is now applying these technologies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.