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AbbVie, Harvard University collaborate for research on emergent viral diseases

AbbVie will provide $30 million over three years

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This collaboration aims to rapidly integrate fundamental biology into the preclinical and clinical development of new therapies for viral diseases that address a variety of therapeutic modalities.

AbbVie and Harvard University have announced a $30 million collaborative research alliance to study and develop novel therapies against emergent viral infections, with a focus on those caused by coronaviruses and by viruses that lead to hemorrhagic fever.

This collaboration aims to rapidly integrate fundamental biology into the preclinical and clinical development of new therapies for viral diseases that address a variety of therapeutic modalities.

“A key element of having a strong R&D organisation is collaboration with top academic institutions, like Harvard Medical School, to develop therapies for patients who need them most. There is much to learn about viral diseases and the best way to treat them. By harnessing the power of collaboration, we can develop new therapeutics sooner to ensure the world is better prepared for future potential outbreaks,” said Michael Severino, Vice Chairman and President, AbbVie.

“The cataclysmic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic reminds us how vital it is to be prepared for the next public health crisis and how critical collaboration is on every level—across disciplines, across institutions, and across national boundaries. Harvard Medical School, as the nucleus of an ecosystem of fundamental discovery and therapeutic translation, is uniquely positioned to propel this transformative research alongside allies like AbbVie,” said George Q. Daley, Dean of Harvard Medical School.”

AbbVie will provide $30 million over three years and additional in-kind support leveraging AbbVie’s scientists, expertise and facilities to advance collaborative research and early-stage development efforts across five programme areas that address a variety of therapeutic modalities:

Immunity and immunopathology—Study of the fundamental processes that impact the body’s critical immune responses to viruses and identification of opportunities for therapeutic intervention.

Host targeting for antiviral therapies—Development of approaches that modulate host proteins in an effort to disrupt the life cycle of emergent viral pathogens.

Antibody therapeutics—Rapid development of therapeutic antibodies or biologics against emergent pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, to a preclinical or early-clinical stage.

Small molecules—Discovery and early-stage development of small-molecule drugs that would act to prevent replication of known coronaviruses and emergent pathogens.

Translational development—Preclinical validation, pharmacological testing, and optimisation of leading approaches, in collaboration with Harvard-affiliated hospitals, with programme leads to be determined.

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