COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on modern society and economic systems. The scale and severity of this pandemic calls for a global, multi-tiered deployment of all available biotechnology platforms in search of therapeutics. While ongoing global vaccine and drug repurposing trials provide hope moving into Fall2020, we must continue to prepare multiple lines of defense in anticipation of new emergent strains.

Emerging Canadian biotech company Cyclica will partner with Matthieu Schapira from the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology and the Structural Genomics Consortium at the University of Toronto to design a new line of pan-coronavirus inhibitors. This collaboration will discover new druggable, well-conserved sites on coronavirus protein surfaces and perform an AI-based virtual screen in search of chemical inhibitors, using Cyclica’s Match Maker engine.

The SOSCIP GPU-accelerated platform will be used to broaden Match Maker’s domain of applicability to non-human species by augmenting training with protein-ligand binding data from multiple species and re-optimizing neural networks. This collaboration will lead to new viral targeting strategies and a new platform to address emerging threats.

Industry Partner(s):Cyclica

Academic Institution:University of Toronto

Academic Researcher: Schapira, Matthieu

Focus Areas: COVID-19

Platforms: GPU