Tech Transfer eNews Blog

AB Science and UChicago sign license agreement to advance promising antiviral drug

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 14th, 2021

Drug developer AB Science has entered into an exclusive license agreement with the University of Chicago (UChicago) to advance a novel treatment for nidoviruses, coronaviruses, and picornaviruses.

The agreement is centered on masitinib, an orally administered tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Researchers at UChicago have discovered that masitinib inhibits 3CLpro, the main protease necessary for the SARS-CoV-2 viral replication cycle.

Under the terms of the agreement, AB Science will supply masitinib and more than 130 other drugs developed by the company that have been shown to inhibit 3CLpro. In turn, AB Science will benefit from UChicago’s proprietary research platform.

If the drug is successfully commercialized, AB Science will benefit from an exclusive, royalty-bearing license on any discoveries made using its products, while UChicago will receive 1% of net sales on first registered product and 3% of net sales on further registered products.

UChicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation helped patent the technology and negotiated the license agreement with AB Science.

“The discovery of masitinib as an anti-protease against multiple coronaviruses is a major discovery,” says Nir Drayman, researcher at UChicago’s Pritzker School for Molecular Engineering. “Masitinib should be a priority drug to develop against COVID-19 and future emerging viruses. Unfortunately, this pandemic is not over, and the world urgently needs anti-virals to combat this virus, and masitinib is a very promising candidate”.

Alain Moussy, cofounder and CEO of AB Science, comments, “Collaboration is necessary for the rapid development of new drugs in the fight against this pandemic. We are proud to collaborate in all aspects with the School for Molecular Engineering of the University of Chicago, one of the best research centers in the world. Our ultimate objective in COVID-19 is to deliver as soon as possible a drug that is a direct antiviral against the protease of the virus.”

Source: StreetInsider

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