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Small Molecule Antivirals for Therapeutic Applications


Antiviral compounds that competitively disrupt virus-host interactions to inhibit disease progression and transmission 



Hemorrhagic fever viruses such as Ebola, Marburg, and Lassa are some of the deadliest viruses in the world and yet, there are currently no vaccines or therapeutics available to control their infection and transmission.


The 2014 Ebola outbreak had devastating effects on the economies, healthcare systems and communities in the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. This outbreak also had an impact on the U.S. economy, with $2.4 billion dollars (the most from any country worldwide) being donated in the form of personnel, technical expertise and resources to establish three new emergency operation centers to control the epidemic (CDC).


While the number of hemorrhagic fever incidences has declined since 2014, a broad spectrum antiviral that is effective at controlling these viruses is urgently needed.



Dr. Harty and his team have identified small molecules that inhibit infectivity and spread of hemorrhagic fever viruses. These antiviral compounds disrupt key interactions between viral late (L) budding domains and mammalian host proteins. L domains are highly conserved motifs present in a wide array of RNA virus matrix proteins including filoviruses, arenaviruses, rhabdoviruses, paramyxoviruses and retroviruses, thus making these antivirals applicable to a vast assortment of human pathogens.



Ronald Harty



  • Broadly applicable to viruses containing L-domain
  • Little to no risk of viruses developing resistanc
  • New class of "host-oriented" therapeutics
  • Brief course of treatment

Stage of Development:

  • In vitro studies with live virus and virus like particles are complete
  • In vitro toxicity studies are complete
  • SAR of >150 compounds completed with two lead series identified
  • Next stage is in vivo animal model studies


Intellectual Property:

PCT Pending PCT/US2015/023502 


 Reference Media:  

  1. Lu et al.,  J Virol. 2014 May;88(9):4736-4743
  2. Han et al., J Virol. 2014 Jul;88(13):7294-7306
  3. Loughran et al., Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2016 Aug 1;26(15):3429-3435 


Desired Partnerships:

  • License
  • Co-development

 Docket # 14-7018



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Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Melissa Kelly
Associate Director
University of Pennsylvania
Ronald Harty