The European Lead Factory selects first COVID-19 proposal

Saman Honarnejad with the Screening Robot from Pivot Park Screening Centre

Over the last few months, as the world has grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Lead Factory has been looking for ways to contribute collective efforts and assets to help deal with the crisis. As part of this focus, we have decided to prioritise COVID-19 related proposals through a fast-track procedure. We’re proud to announce that the first proposal to tackle the SARS-CoV-2 infection has now been selected. The screening program aims to identify small-molecule inhibitors of viral entry into host cells.

The chosen proposal was submitted by Pivot Park Screening Centre (PPSC), located in Oss, the Netherlands. Following normal procedures, the proposal was evaluated by the Review Committee for scientific quality, degree of target validation, innovation, and treatment potential. The next steps will involve writing a comprehensive programme plan in consultation with experts from the European Screening Centre to retrieve the most promising hits.

Saman Honarnejad, Team Leader Assay Development at PPSC said: “If successful, this screening campaign can pave the way for the discovery of novel drug candidates that not only counteract disease progression in SARS-CoV-2 patients, but also protect against viral outbreaks.”

Commenting on this latest development, Jon de Vlieger, coordinator of the current project said: “We are thrilled to have made this selection and we’re excited that we can now begin work on a unique target mode. ELF has always carefully balanced its portfolio and made sure to address disease areas with high societal need. In addition to our global health programmes on neglected tropical diseases and antimicrobial resistance, we’re committed to contributing efforts to fight COVID-19 and other coronaviruses, by screening our unique compound collection on relevant drug targets in collaboration with the scientific community.”

Bron: European Lead Factory, 22 July 2020