Pandemic Antiviral Discovery (PAD) – Antivirals for Pandemic Influenza Request for Proposals

Support for the development of novel small-molecule antivirals targeting pandemic influenza.

Launched in March 2022, Pandemic Antiviral Discovery (PAD) is a global philanthropic initiative aimed at catalysing the discovery and early development of antiviral medicines in preparation for future pandemics. It was founded and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Novo Nordisk Foundation (NNF) and Open Philanthropy.

The Antivirals for Pandemic Influenza Request for Proposals (RfP) is the initiative’s second funding call. The focus of the RfP is the development of novel small-molecule antivirals targeting pandemic influenza, as the virus remains a substantial threat to public health. There is a need for cheap and safe antiviral compounds that target viral/host proteins and pathways necessary for replication and pathogenesis that are clearly differentiated from currently marketed drugs for seasonal influenza.

Funding can support preclinical activities and phase I clinical trials, but not later stage clinical trials. Special consideration will be given to therapeutic modalities that are suitable for deployment in low resource settings (although researchers from around the world are encouraged to submit proposals).

Proposals should be consistent with at least one of these four areas:

  • Direct acting antivirals with data demonstrating clear differentiation from currently marketed influenza antiviral products.
  • Host targeted therapies with data demonstrating clear benefit over currently marketed influenza virus therapeutics.
  • Compounds that target multiple pathways or mechanisms to reduce the likelihood of resistance emergence.
  • Compounds demonstrating activity against drug resistant influenza variants.

In addition to improved clinical efficacy over standard of care, attributes that define differentiation include shorter duration of therapy, reduced dosing frequency, improved safety, lower cost of goods, higher barrier to resistance and/or novel targets/mechanism of action.

Applicants must be established investigators with their own line of research and must be employed for the duration of the project at the administrating institution registered in the proposal.

The administrating institution/organisation can be based anywhere in the world and must be able to accept and manage the potential grant. Grants can be held at any type of research organisation, including academic, not-for-profit and commercial organisations.

A total of up to $25 million is expected to be allocated to proposals submitted to this RfP, but this amount is not fixed and may be updated depending on the quantity and quality of the proposals. The number of proposals supported will depend on the quality and expected budget.

Exploratory projects should not exceed a budget of approximately $2 million and later-stage validation projects should not exceed a budget of approximately $10 million.

It is expected that the projects applied for will be between one and three years in duration. Under exceptional circumstances, a longer project period can be negotiated with the PAD partners later in the application process.

Applications (first phase concept notes) must be submitted by the deadline of 22 November 2022 (14:00 CET).

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)