The Carolina community is not only treating the pandemic at hand; it is also doing its part to ensure that this sort of pandemic will not be repeated in the future.
UNC-Chapel Hill and the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) launched the Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative (READDI) to discover and develop drugs for clinical trial testing in anticipation of future viral pandemics.
“We should have done this decades ago,” said SGC Chief Executive Officer Aled Edwards. “But READDI has the potential to make sure we are never caught off-guard again.”
The science behind READDI is based on a collaborative research project more than a year in the making that received seed funding from the Eshelman Institute for Innovation and the UNC Research Creativity Hub. Building upon this work, READDI will serve as a non-profit drug research and development organization with a unique open science component that is focused on the viral families that cause the majority of epidemics and pandemics.
The goal is to raise $125 million to generate five new drugs with human safety and dosing data in five years to be ready for the next pandemic.
“We are proud to help launch READDI. We are also proud of the three schools, the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, the School of Medicine and the Gillings School of Global Public Health, that created this concept and will be collaborating closely. It is uniquely structured to innovate for the public good, just as we do at Carolina,” said Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz. “Through this initiative, researchers will be able to create new therapies that will help people live longer, healthier lives.”