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The Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Eshelman Institute for Innovation, announce the launch of the Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Discovery Initiative (READDI), to discover and develop drugs to put “on the shelf” for clinical trial testing in anticipation of future viral pandemics.

READDI, located in Chapel Hill, N.C., is a non-profit drug research and development (R&D) organization that will focus on the viral families that cause the majority of epidemics and pandemics. It will target the cellular changes that are critical for infection by known viruses and that are predicted to be used even by viruses that do not yet exist.  The goal is to raise $125 million to generate five new drugs with human safety and dosing data in five years to be ready for the next pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for the world’s top researchers and drug discoverers to work together to invent new therapies,” said the SGC Chief Executive Officer Aled Edwards. “We should have done this decades ago, but READDI has the potential to make sure we are never caught off-guard again.”

READDI is modeled after DNDi, a proven model for non-profit drug research and development.  In READDI, projects will adopt extreme open science methods – sharing drug discovery progress in real time, so that all can benefit.

“We are excited to support this much needed effort in anti-viral drug development. We are happy to lend our hand in any way to ensure the global community is better prepared for any future pandemics,” said DNDi  Research & Development Director Laurent Fraisse.

“We are proud to help launch READDI.  We are also proud of the three schools; the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, the School of Medicine, and the Gillings School of Global Public Health that created this concept and will be collaborating closely. It is uniquely structured to innovate for the public good, just as we do at Carolina,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz. “Through this initiative, researchers will be able to create new therapies that will help people live longer, healthier lives.”

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