ATCC (American Type Culture Collection), a nonprofit biological resource center and standards organization, has been awarded more than $5.5 million in grants by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to identify and characterize novel therapeutic approaches to viruses of global health concern and improve the country's pandemic preparedness.
Promising therapeutic candidates will be tested for efficacy with in vitro and in vivo model systems.
"ATCC is committed to supporting this global health initiative by providing the novel scientific research and development solutions needed to address these high-morbidity and mortality infectious disease outcomes," said Raymond H. Cypess, DVM, PhD, chairman and CEO of ATCC. “Through our new partnership with DTRA, we now have the opportunity to focus on the development of novel machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) models for countermeasure identification that may lead to better vaccine and therapeutic solutions, which are needed to save lives."
Specifically, ATCC's role will be to employ multiple experimental platforms to define new targets for therapeutics, evaluate novel and/or FDA-approved candidates for antiviral and anti-inflammatory activities, and define relevant infection-associated biomarkers. This information will be used to develop AI models of disease and therapeutic effectiveness.
ATCC will also employ ML/AI strategies to integrate the cellular response datasets and identify broad-spectrum therapeutic candidates to combat various pathogens. The promising candidates will be tested with novel organoid models (organ-on-a-chip) in an iterative and sequential transition from in vitro to in vivo platforms. This is seen as a critical step in the one-drug-many-bugs approach to antiviral product development and will be an important contribution to improving our country's resiliency in dealing with the current and future pandemic challenges.
"ATCC is proud to provide its expertise in global health and biodefense to support federal infectious disease research and development programs and the DoD [Department of Defense] with this new grant from DTRA," said Joseph Leonelli, PhD, senior vice president of ATCC Federal Solutions (AFS).
Dr. Aarthi Narayanan, director of Translational Research and Technology Transfer at ATCC, will lead this research. She brings her deep expertise in virology and preclinical product development to the AFS team and oversees translating cutting-edge research into technologies and products that will continue to improve global health and biodefense.