API partners with a University of Saskatchewan scientist to discover and develop novel antivirals against emerging Coronavirus variants


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Forming an academic-industry collaboration, the project will combine virology expertise of Dr. Anil Kumar, University of Saskatchewan with API’s expertise in drug development to identify new lead compounds that could pave the way for novel antivirals against SARS-CoV-2 variants. 

Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation (API), a not-for-profit life sciences organization has partnered with a University of Saskatchewan research scientist Dr. Anil Kumar to develop a high-throughput drug screening platform to identify novel drugs and drug-targets that show a high potential to develop new antivirals effective against all prevalent and emerging variants of the Coronavirus.

The high-throughput screening system will add screening capacity for thousands of compounds per day and help in the identification of lead compounds using genetic and compound library screening.

“SARS-CoV-2 is a biosafety level 3 (BSL 3) virus and through this project, we’re building an infection system that can be safely used in a BSL 2 lab at API. This system can be used to test thousands of compounds in a single run, accelerating the drug discovery process,” said Dr. Anil Kumar, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Saskatchewan“We are thankful to have API as an industry partner. With their partnership, we will have access to their well-established drug development pipeline and the compound libraries for the screening system.”

“It is incredible to see the ground-breaking research on SARS-CoV-2 that is happening in Canada. With this project, we’ll add a screening system for the BSL 2 lab that can be used to identify and assess the compounds created by scientists globally for developing antivirals against the COVID variants. This can immediately increase the range of potential antivirals available in Canada and globally that can help us fight future variants from the family of SARS-CoV-2 virus,” said Andrew MacIsaac, CEO, API.

The project will also train a postdoctoral fellow in both academic and industrial settings and provide them an opportunity to develop specialized skill sets for drug screening research. Furthermore, this will support the growth of their career in research and drug development with a potential for getting hired by API or the life sciences industry. 

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. 

For any media queries, please contact communications@appliedpharma.ca.