$37.5 million grant will address research of high-priority infections

The Antiviral Drug Discovery and Development Center at UAB will study infectious diseases, including influenza, West Nile, Zika, chikungunya and more.

AD3CjoomlaRichard Whitley, M.D.The Antiviral Drug Discovery and Development Center (AD3C) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has been awarded a five-year, $37.5 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Centers of Excellence for Translational Research to study and develop treatment for high-priority infections.

These infections to be studied include influenza, flaviviruses like dengue, West Nile virus and Zika, coronaviruses that cause SARS and MERS, and alphaviruses such as Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus and chikungunya.

Led by Richard Whitley, M.D., Distinguished Professor at UAB, AD3C’s goals involve developing new small molecule therapeutics for emerging and re-emerging viral infections. Additionally, AD3C provides an infrastructure to accelerate the development of new potential drugs from the lab toward the clinic.

“This grant will help us improve and create new treatment options for these four virus families and ultimately impact the global understanding of these viruses at large,” Whitley said. “The viruses of focus within AD3C are of the highest priority to the United States government. We are confident that our future findings will help transform the way we treat patients, unmet medical needs and the safety of millions.”

UAB is the lead institution for AD3C, but the team unifies scientists experienced in virology, viral immunology, pathogenesis, medicinal chemistry and translation to human disease from UAB, University of North Carolina, Vanderbilt University, Emory University, Washington University, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Southern Research, and Oregon Health & Science University.

Since its inception, AD3C has already contributed significant data to an IND filed for MERS and two patent applications for compounds with activity against chikungunya, illustrating the success of the collaborative, multi-institutional model.