Helicase (Kapoor)

It is important to have drugs that work on targets beyond the RNA polymerase. SARS-CoV- 2 has an essential helicase that is required for unwinding double-stranded RNA templates during viral replication. It is likely that inhibitors of this enzyme can be found that are specific for the virus without effects on human proteins. Tarun Kapoor is an exceptional chemical biologist with extensive experience on this class of molecule. Charlie Rice has also worked on the Hepatitis C helicase. And there is published work on inhibitors of the related MERS virus helicase that can be used as a starting point. They will collaborate to identify novel compounds that inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 helicase that can be taken into the clinic. Promising inhibitors of the virus can be followed up rapidly in collaboration with our medicinal chemistry capability at the Tri-I Therapeutics Discovery Institute led by Pete Meinke to optimize small molecules to go into pre-clinical animal testing with the hope of developing drug candidates. Tarun Kapoor tarun.kapoor@rockefeller.edu 212-327-8000

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