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Consortium

The ANTIVIRALS consortium combines the expertise of 7 academic partners (P1-6 & P10), 3 industrial partners that recruit a researcher (P7-9) and 2 industrial partner organisations (PO1-2) that will be involved in the training programme.


P1 Utrecht University
P2 Leiden University Medical Center

Research at the Virology division aims to unravel the structure, entry, replication, and molecular pathogenesis of several RNA viruses that are of human clinical and veterinary relevance. These include the nidoviruses (i.e. corona-, toro- and arteriviruses), picornaviruses (e.g. entero-, cardio-, and aphthoviruses), influenza A virus, and respiratory syncytial virus. Our ultimate goal is to translate this knowledge into the development of novel therapeutic and prophylactic strategies.Research of the ESRs will be embedded in the Graduate School of Life Sciences and the UU Center for Infection and Immunity, which facilitates collaboration of all research related to Infectious diseases, Microbiology, Inflammation and Immunology within the broader Utrecht area.

The virological and bacteriological research activities of the Department of Medical Microbiology are embedded in the LUMC research profile Immunity, Infection & Tolerance. The efforts of the molecular virology team of Prof. Eric Snijder are focused on the replication, virus-host interactions, and evolution of (emerging) positive-stranded RNA viruses, studies often performed in collaborative European projects. The PhD projects of the ANTIVIRALS ESRs will be embedded in the LUMC Graduate School, which offers a highly reputed research environment, excellent infrastructure and supervision, and in-depth scientific and transferable skill courses jointly developed by Leiden University and LUMC.

People involved - Prof. dr. Frank van Kuppeveld, Hey Rhyoung Lyoo (ESR-1), Lisa Bauer (ESR-2)

People involved - Prof. dr. Eric Snijder, Dr. Martijn van Hemert, Dr. Clara Posthuma, Kristina Kovacikova (ESR-3), Natacha Ogando (ESR-4)


P3 University Hospital of Heidelberg
P4 Cardiff University

The research at the Department of Infectious Diseases, Molecular Virology , focuses on human pathogenic and medically relevant viruses that are responsible for chronic liver diseases (hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus) and for mosquito-transmitted infections (Dengue virus, West Nile virus). Projects conducted in the Molecular Virology research unit aim at understanding the cell biology underlying the replication cycle of these viruses, how these infections causes disease and which mechanisms these viruses use to overcome the innate immune responses. One important aspect is to translate our findings into the clinic, for which we have established translational collaborative research projects.

Cardiff is in the top tier of The UK’s research universities and is a member of the prestigious Russell Group. World-leading research is conducted across every academic school. The University is among the top 5 in the UK in 14 research areas, and the top 10 in a further 11 areas. With a >26,000 student enrolled, it is the 12th largest university in UK. The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is one of the UK leading Pharmacy department, both in teaching and research. The School has a strong record of drug discovery and development of novel antiviral and anticancer compounds, with 3 agents currently at different stages of clinical evaluation.

People involved - Prof. dr. Ralf Bartenschlager, Melissa Navarro (ESR-5), Anna Płaszczyca (ESR-6)

People involved - Dr. Andrea Brancale, Melissa Navarro (ESR-5), Roberto Manganaro (ESR-7), Birgit Zonsics (ESR-8)


P5 Aix-Marseille University
P6 Catholic University of Leuven

The AFMB laboratory is at the forefront of structural proteomics and has developed an operating structural proteomics platform "from gene to structure", which includes domain design, parallel and robotized cloning, expression, purification and crystallization steps of targets of interest. The team "Viral replicase: structure, mechanism and drug-design" characterizes enzymes and proteines from emerging viruses involved in the replication of their genome and transcription of their messenger RNAs. Research of the ESRs will be embedded in the Doctoral School of Aix Marseille University, facilitating collaborations with other researchers involved in Infectious diseases and Microbiology in the broad Marseille area.

The team of Prof. Johan Neyts (within the Rega Institute) is part of the department of Microbiology and Immunology at the KU Leuven. The focus of the lab is on the development of novel antiviral strategies. Examples of our activity include the discovery of a. Alisporivir (DEB025) currently in phase III studies at Novartis and Tegobuvir (7 phase 2 studies at Gilead Sciences) for the treatment of infections with HCV; b. potent and pan-serotype inhibitors of dengue virus replication, now being further developed in a joint effort with Janssen Pharmaceutica (Johnson & Johnson) c. highly potent and broad-spectrum inhibitors of rhino/enterovirus licensed to and being further developed by Novartis.

People involved - Prof. dr. Bruno Canard, Dr. Bruno Coutard, Le Thi Tuyet Nhung (ESR-9), Ana Sofia Ramos (ESR-10)

People involved - Prof. dr. Johan Neyts, Kristina Lanko (ESR-11), Haridian Montañez Brull (ESR-14)


P7 ViroVet NV
P8 AiCuris GmbH

ViroVet NV is an R&D-driven veterinary biotech company based in Leuven (Belgium). The ESR has a fascinating job in a novel area of veterinary viral disease control at the heart of a dynamic biotech company. Research of the ESR is embedded in the Doctoral School Programmes “Drug Design and Development” & “Immunology and Microbiology” of KU Leuven, which facilitates collaboration and training in research related to Drug Design and Development, Infectious diseases, Microbiology, Inflammation and Immunology within the broader Leuven area.

AiCuris (name derived from “anti-infective cures”) is a pharmaceutical company focused exclusively on the discovery, research and development of novel antiviral and antibacterial agents for the treatment of severe and potentially life-threatening infectious diseases. It has a broad and innovative pipeline for discovering highly innovative, resistance-breaking compounds. AiCuris concentrates on markets with high medical need, such as HIV, HSV, HCMV and Hepatitis B and C. As a spin-of company of Bayer HealthCare, it leans on long experience in the field of anti-infective drug development. In 2013, AiCuris won the Deloitte Recap ALLICENSE 2013 "Breakthrough Alliance Award" for a deal with Merck MSD on a HCMV candidate.

People involved - Dr. Robert Vrancken, Marion Francisco (ESR-12)

People involved - Dr. Holger Zimmermann, Dr. Alexander Birkmann, Angelica Corcuera (ESR-13)


PO3 Complix NV & PO4 Complix Luxembourg
P10 University of Vienna

Complix discovers and develops Alphabodies, a novel and proprietary class of biopharmaceuticals that delivers significant advantages over current protein therapeutic approaches. Complix´s current R&D focus is on the development of novel Alphabody-based therapies for the treatment of cancer but also inflammation, autoimmunity and viral diseases. Complix is headquartered in Hasselt (Belgium) and has research facilities in Ghent (Belgium) and in Luxembourg. Research of the ESR has mainly been performed in Complix Luxembourg having expertise in viral diseases strengthened by the strategic alliance with the Luxembourg Institute of Health.

University of Vienna is the top Austrian research university With a >96,000 student enrolled, it is also the largest university in Austria. The Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Life Sciences, is the leading Pharmacy department in Austria, both in teaching and research. It has a strong record of drug discovery and development of novel bio-active compounds, and is fully equipped for in silico approaches, modern medicinal chemistry, and high resolution structure analysis of small organic molecules.

People involved - Dr. Ignace Lasters, Dr. Sabrina Deroo, Haridian Montañez Brull (ESR-14)

People involved - Prof. dr. Thierry Langer, Clara Van Hoey (ESR-15)


PO1 Prestwick Chemical
PO2 Virology Education

Prestwick Chemical (PC) provides a broad range of expertise in all areas of medicinal chemistry, including hit identification and validation, hit to lead expansion, and lead optimisation. PC’s experienced team is supported by state of the art computer-aided molecular design approaches, large-scale virtual screening and expertise to address ADME/TOX and selectivity issues. In addition to research services, Prestwick Chemical provides the pharmaceutical industry and academic research laboratories with a supply of smart and original drug-like screening libraries. Within the ANTIVIRALS project, Prestwick will host secondments of several ESRs.

Virology Education (VE) is a Training and Education company that provides international forums for interchange and education in the field of scientific and clinical (management of) viral diseases. VE organises and provides state-of-the-art events (conferences, workshops, courses, trainings, expert rounds) and educational materials (slide kits, meetings reports, flyers, e-mail alerts, newsletters, booklets, magazines, websites), mainly in the field of HIV and HCV treatment and drug resistance.

People involved - Dr. Christophe Morice, Dr. Marie Louise Jung

People involved - Prof. dr. Charles Boucher