The Antiviral Drug Discovery and Development Center (AD3C), coordinated out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has, at its center, the theme to develop new small molecule therapeutics for emerging and re-emerging viral infections.  AD3C focuses on developing drugs for four virus families: influenza, flaviruses, coronaviruses and alphaviruses—infections causing diseases including Zika, SARS and chikungunya and dengue viruses. Researchers work to target and inhibit enzymes essential for viral replication, with AD3C providing an infrastructure to accelerate the development of new potential drugs from the lab towards the clinic.

UAB performs this research along with top virologists across the country already working with these agents, at institutions that include Oregon Health and Science University, Washington University, Vanderbilt University, the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, the Emory Institute for Drug Development, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Southern Research Institute, also located in Birmingham, AL.

The families of viruses targeted within AD3C are of the highest priority for the U.S. government. They represent both biologic threats and unmet medical needs. The global burden of these diseases is enormous. AD3C will also strive to develop therapies for emerging infections such as coronaviruses, dengue and chickungunya, which pose risks for traveling U.S. citizens or could be imported into the country.

University HospitalThe research focuses on the inhibition of viral replication, especially viral polymerases. The participating researchers focus on target validation, high throughput screening to identify novel chemical scaffolds, and basic virologic research to prove and further probe the exact mechanism of action of identified lead molecules in viral replication.  Medicinal chemistry and lead development activities advance identified compounds down the drug discovery and development pathway, ultimately leading to preclinical evaluation of promising new drug candidates to treat these diseases.

The AD3C is one of the Centers of Excellence for Translational Research from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, funded by grant U19 AI142759.