Drug Discovery and Development Platform at SciLifeLab to collaborate with Medivir AB to find potential inhibitors of SARS CoV-2

The Drug Discovery and Development (DDD) Platform at SciLifeLab today announces that it has entered into a research collaboration with the Swedish drug development company Medivir AB. The aim is to find inhibitors of the main protease of SARS CoV-2, an essential non-structural protein known as Mpro, which is required for virus replication. To identify putative inhibitors and evaluate active compounds as potential drug development candidates, the DDD platform will mine a unique protease-targeted compound library, developed at Medivir. Data for up to 100 top-inhibitors will be published by SciLifeLab online, openly available for drug development efforts focused on combating COVID-19.

The project is led by Kristian Sandberg, Associate Professor at Uppsala University, Co-Director of SciLifeLab’s DDD Platform, and principal investigator of the project Nevermore COVID. The project is part of the national COVID-19 research program at SciLifeLab, which is funded by Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation with a total of 50 MSEK. The project aims at establishing a pre-competitive, open science collaboration at SciLifeLab, engaging both industry and academic research groups in Sweden and abroad, for the discovery of antivirals for SARS CoV-2.

“SciLifeLab has established a national COVID-19 research program together with universities across the country, and one aspect of this program is focused on finding novel inhibitors and drug-leads to block the virus and its effects in human cells. This new collaboration between Medivir and SciLifeLab’s DDD platform is an excellent example of how public-private partnerships between industry and Swedish universities can enrich and enhance this program”, says Professor Olli Kallioniemi, Director of SciLifeLab.

“We have gathered a team of ten top scientists from Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands with the aim to support their ambitions to develop a cure for COVID-19. Medivir AB adds unique opportunities with their protease targeted library. Our job at DDD is to make sure that data produced meets industry standard”, says Kristian Sandberg, Co-Director of SciLifeLab’s DDD platform.

“We are very happy to be able to contribute some of our unique resources in the protease field to the collaborative effort addressing this important medical need together with SciLifeLab’s DDD platform in this interesting Open Science project”, says Professor Fredrik Öberg, Chief Scientific Officer at Medivir.

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About Medivir

Medivir develops innovative drugs with a focus on cancer where the unmet medical needs are high. The drug candidates are directed toward indication areas where available therapies are limited or missing and there are great opportunities to offer significant improvements to patients. Collaborations and partnerships are important parts of Medivir’s business model, and the drug development is conducted either by Medivir or in partnership. Medivir’s share (ticker: MVIR) is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm’s Small Cap list.

About SciLifeLab and the Drug Discovery and Development Platform

As a national hub for molecular biosciences in Sweden, SciLifeLab develops and maintains unique research infrastructure, services and data resources for life science. SciLifeLab coordinates research communities in health and environmental science, recruitment and training of young scientists, and fosters collaborations with industry, health care, public research organizations and international partners. SciLifeLab is jointly operated by its four founder universities: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm University and Uppsala University.

The Drug Discovery and Development (DDD) Platform at SciLifeLab is a national resource focused on assisting academic researchers and, when possible, industry to progress biological discoveries into new drug candidates and potential treatments for the benefit of patients. The platform offers integrated drug discovery efforts, industry standard infrastructure, expertise, and strategic support.


Dr. Kristian Sandberg, Co-Director of SciLifeLab’s DDD Platform and principal investigator for the Nevermore COVID project (part of the national COVID-19 research program at SciLifeLab)., phone: +46184714309

Dr. Uli Hacksell, CEO, Medivir AB, phone: +46 (0)8 5468 3100


Last updated: 2020-08-17

Content Responsible: David Gotthold(