Virna Therapeutics has partnered with University of Toronto to in-license neutralizing antibodies, to treat COVID-19. The discovery was made in the laboratory of Sachdev Sidhu, PhD., a professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Torontoas Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research and founder of the Toronto Recombinant Antibody Centre.

The speed and scale of the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the urgent need for better methods for developing and testing novel therapeutics. The crisis has presented severe challenges to global health but has also provided an opportunity to integrate advanced methods. aThe speed with which SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies were produced and validated highlights the robustness of the Donnelly Centre antibody engineering platform and its ability to address urgent health challenges like COVID-19,a says Brenda Andrews, Director of the Donnelly Centre. "The partnership with Virna Therapeutics is the latest in a string of industry collaborations allowing our investigators to translate their discoveries into new therapies."

The founders of Virna Therapeutics include Dr. Sachdev Sidhu (Chief Scientific Officer), leader of the discovery and development process, Suresh K. Jain, PhD. (President and Chief Executive Officer), a Boston-based serial biotech entrepreneur with a track record of success in building world-class organizations and teams, and Pier Paolo Pandolfi, MD., PhD., FRCP, a famed cancer molecular geneticist and RNA therapy expert.

Virna Therapeutics has a three-pronged strategy to target the COVID-19 virus: (1) neutralizing antibodies that will prevent the virus from entering host cells, (2) CRISPR/Cas13d-based and LNA-based technologies for the treatment and prevention of RNA virus infection and (3) novel protease inhibitors that will prevent replication and release from host cells.

aVirna has prioritized developing potent and highly selective neutralizing antibodies against spike proteins and plans to clinically test these leads within the next three to four monthsa says Dr. Jain. We aim to become the worldas leading expert in the development of...

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