Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation (API) announces establishment of team with researchers from Nova Scotia Universities for antiviral drug discovery against SARS-CoV-2 and RNA viruses


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Through this academic and industry collaboration, the partners will create a rich training environment for students and postdoctoral fellows, strengthen antiviral drug discovery pipeline against coronaviruses, highlight the existing expertise, infrastructure, and services available for scientists through API to move their research forward.

Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation (API), a not-for-profit life sciences organization has partnered with a team of research scientists from Dalhousie University and Mount Saint Vincent University in Nova Scotia to conduct research to understand the antiviral mechanism of FDA-approved thiopurines drug named 6- thioguanine (6-TG). The researchers and API plan to use this information to develop novel chemical entities with greater specificity and potency that can be used for improved antiviral drug discovery against SARS-CoV-2 and RNA viruses. 

Dr. Craig McCormick, Microbiology and Immunology, Dalhousie University, Dr. Sultan Darvesh, Medicine and Medical Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, and Dr. Ian Pottie, Chemistry and Physics, Mount Saint Vincent University are the key collaborators on this study along with support from experts from API and its network facilities. 

In addition to providing the researchers with access to expertise and infrastructure, the project will involve API employing a team at Dalhousie. This will create opportunities for interns and post-doctoral fellows to enhance their technical and scientific skills in antiviral drug research and become highly qualified professionals (HQPs) with future career prospects with API, academia, and the life sciences industry. 

“Deeper research into the existing Thioguanine (6-TG) drug will help us understand its targets and mechanism, and eventually help in finding more promising and improved antivirals for use in any future pandemic scenario. We are thrilled to have API as the industry partner for this study. Industry collaborations like these open doors for more innovative research to continue in Canada, and development of translational teams and HQPs who can facilitate more research in the life sciences,” said Dr. Craig McCormick, Microbiology and Immunology, Dalhousie University

“Collaborations like these between academia and industry across provinces is the key to building a more vibrant and integrated life sciences ecosystem,” said Andrew MacIsaac, CEO, API. “At API, we aim to catalyze the innovative research ideas coming out of academic institutions and give them the tools & expertise they need to create potential drugs and therapeutics. This collaboration will also add to the antiviral drug discovery pipeline, strengthening Canada’s pandemic preparedness against viruses like COVID-19.”

About API

Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation (API) is a not-for-profit organization making an impact in the life sciences by bridging the gap between academia and industry. With a network of over 100 pharmaceutical scientists, clinicians, regulatory, patent, and market experts, API brings life-saving research to the real world. API has an expert interdisciplinary team that works with collaborating organizations to provide the expertise, services and infrastructure of a pharmaceutical company. API helps innovators launch their ideas into the real world, connects industry to the translational science they need for success, and accelerates all aspects of the drug development process. 

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