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Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.3.1-1 | Award Amount: 6.11M | Year: 2013

Invasive fungal diseases are estimated to kill 1.5 million people each year. The incidence of mortality has risen significantly across the EU over the last 20 years due to an expansion of at risk patient populations. Given the obvious importance of these diseases it is perhaps surprising that only four classes of drug are available to treat systemic fungal infection. The azole class of antifungals provide the front line role for most disease treatment but recently resistance has emerged and it is of growing concern that levels are rising dramatically. European researchers have led the world in identifying the extent of the problem with some centres reporting itraconazole resistance in the Aspergillus species as high as 20% and in Candida, resistance to posaconazole upto 30%. Additionally the epidemiology of serious fungal infections is changing with more intrinsically resistant organisms now being seen more frequently. This represents a major problem for clinicians who are increasingly treating infections for which there is no current effective therapy. This proposal brings together leading European SMEs and academics to address this problem through the development of novel classes of antifungals and the identification of novel drug targets. The NOFUN consortium has identified potent novel broad spectrum antifungal molecules that are active against multi-resistant fungal pathogens and intends to qualify these as drug candidates. One of these assets is already at the lead identification stage. Cutting edge fungal genomics will be used to identify novel druggable targets and advance these to develop qualified tractable chemical inhibitors. With its wide ranging expertise across medicinal chemistry, ADMET, fungal biology, chemical genomics and drug development the partners will build and progress a broad pipeline of agents that have the potential to reach the clinic within 5 years.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2010.2.3.3-4 | Award Amount: 7.82M | Year: 2010

Influenza viruses cause a highly contagious respiratory disease in both humans and animals. Typically, influenza spreads worldwide in seasonal epidemics resulting in an estimated 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness and 250,000 to 500,000 deaths annually. In addition to these seasonal epidemics there have been several pandemics since the early 1900s, where highly virulent strains emerged, the most devastating being the Spanish Flu of 1918, which caused 20-40 million deaths globally. Vaccination is currently the primary means of controlling the spread of influenza virus infections but due to the viruss notorious ability to mutate, new vaccines must be developed each year. There are a few antiviral drugs that are currently on the market; however, their therapeutic potential is restricted through rapid appearance of drug-resistant viruses during treatment. Thus, the need for novel effective drugs against influenza is evident. The FLUCURE project aims at developing innovative, first-in-class therapeutics against influenza by targeting the viral ribonucleoprotein complex, which is replication core of the virion and a major contributor to viral virulence. The high level of conservation combined with slow mutation rates of the ribonucleoprotein complex should result in therapeutics with broad viral strain specificity associated with a reduced risk for developing resistance. FLUCURE builds further on two successful EU-FP7 drug discovery projects, FLUINHIBIT and FluDrugStrategy, both targeting specific but different protein-protein interactions of the viral ribonucleoprotein complex with small molecule inhibitors. A consortium of 10 partners with the required complementary skills will progress the lead candidates from these two projects synergistically through lead optimization and preclinical development phases, with the final objective to deliver one or more drug candidates suitable for entering clinical development within 4 years.

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