June 12, 2019: Half a million euros for the development of drug candidates against polyomaviruses

Wednesday, 12. June 2019

The Heinrich Pette Institute, Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology (HPI) and the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) will receive around half a million euros for a joint project to investigate new drug candidates against polyomaviruses.

Human polyomaviruses are widespread in the population. In most cases a primary infection already occurs in childhood and the virus remains in the latent cycle as a dormant permanent form in the body. In healthy people, this normally has no major health effects. However, if the immune system is weakened in old age or suppressed in transplant recipients, polyomaviruses can have severe and life-threatening consequences. In view of the ageing population, it must be assumed that the clinical significance of polyomaviruses will continue to increase in the future. As there are no antiviral therapies against this virus family, the joint project of HPI research group leader Prof. Adam Grundhoff and Prof. Nicole Fischer from the UKE aims to find suitable drug candidates against polyomaviruses for the broadest possible application.

The project is supported by the Hamburg cooperation platform "BRIDGE 53" (call 2018, former title "Anti-Infectives BRIDGE"). The funding program, first announced in 2018, is supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Transport and Innovation (BWVI), the Ministry of Science, Research and Equality (BWFG), the Hamburg-based company Evotec and the cluster agency Life Science Nord Management GmbH. The aim of the cooperation platform is to find and characterize new anti-infectives and to transfer the generated scientific findings into application as quickly as possible.

"Our project deals with the further development of drug candidates against polyomaviruses, for example against the BK polyomavirus (BKV). We have already identified the candidates in a DZIF-funded precursor project. These are now to be characterized in more detail. The BKV causes severe diseases in immunosuppressed patients, especially in transplant recipients. Since there is no specific therapy against BKV or other polyomaviruses, such drugs are urgently needed in hospitals," said Prof. Adam Grundhoff explaining the project.



Prof. Adam Grundhoff: adam.grundhoff(at)  
Heinrich Pette Institute, Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology,

Prof. Nicole Fischer: n.fischer(at)
University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf