Novel Inhibitors Targeting Early Steps of Human Cytomegalovirus Replication

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R43AI113971-01
Agency Tracking Number: R43AI113971
Amount: $583,098.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: R
Solicitation Number: PA10-123
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2014
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2014-05-08
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2017-04-30
Small Business Information
MICROBIOTIX, INC, Worcester, MA, 01605-4307
DUNS: 158864715
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (508) 757-2800
Business Contact
Phone: (508) 757-2800
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION provided by applicant Human cytomegalovirus HCMV infection is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in immunosuppressed patients especially recipients of solid organ or bone marrow transplants HCMV infection of neonates is associated with deafness mental retardation and mortality Although five anti viral drugs GCV val GCV CDV PFA Foscarnet have been approved and licensed by the FDA for use in patients with HCMV infection all of them have limitations that preclude their long term use including poor oral bioavailability dose related toxicity and resistance Furthermore cross resistance among the viral DNA polymerase inhibitors GCV val GCV CDV PFA is observed and therefore compounds targeting a different step in the viral replication cycle are of vital importance Our strategy to develop an improved treatment for HCMV is to target the initial phase of virus infection including virus attachment fusion and immediate early viral gene expression with small molecules HCMV entry is a multi step process that is initiated with its binding to cell surface proteins followed by a fusion event The viral capsid is released into the cytosol and traffics to the nucleus where it is uncoated depositing the genome in the nucleus Viral gene expression proceeds in a temporal expression pattern with immediate early IE early E and late L gene expression Two well characterized IE proteins IE and IE are essential for viral replication and for controlling downstream transcription factors In preliminary studies we developed and piloted a high content screen for inhibitors of early events of HCMV replication This screen validated the use of a reporter gene YFP fused to IE as a readout to measure inhibition of early steps in HCMV infection However the limitations of the screen include the use of the laboratory AD HCMV strain and the assay is subject to fluorescence quenching and interference by compounds Thus we plan to redesign the screen by constructing a variant of the HCMV clinical strain TB E that expresses a chimeric fusion of the IE protein product with luciferase This recombinant virus will be used in a cell based high throughput screen that will measure both cell viability and luciferase expression in the same assay well This screening strategy has the potential to identify small molecule inhibitors that target both cellular and vira proteins essential for initial stages of viral infection The goal of this proposal is to identify validate and characterize small molecule inhibitors of the early stages of HCMV infection In Phase I we will screen e discrete small molecules We will apply several secondary cell based assays to eliminate nonspecific inhibitors and cytotoxic compounds The antiviral activity of priority hits will be confirmed We will also investigate the mechanisms of action and resistance of early leads This work will be collaboration between Microbiotix and the Tortorella lab at Mount Sinai In Phase II we will chemically optimize the best candidates and demonstrate activity in vivo in animal infection models The ultimate goal of this project is to develop these optimized inhibitors into clinical candidates for treating patients at high risk for HCMV disease PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE This project will identify validate and characterize small molecule inhibitors of the early stages of human cytomegalovirus infection in order to overcome resistance to existing drugs

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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