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The goal of this BioFulcrum project is to accelerate the discovery of cures for major unsolved diseases by converging scientists, multiple non-profit research institutions, and industry partners.

The program structure allows for accelerating the discovery of cures for major unsolved diseases by:
  • Bringing together an experienced cross-disciplinary scientific team drawn from Gladstone, UC San Francisco, and UC Berkeley
  • Milestone-driven scientific goals, advised by industry partners
  • Strategic and tactical plans guided by a board of directors with industry and biotech venture expertise
Scientific Mission

So far, antiviral drugs have been developed to target specific proteins produced by pathogens. This “one bug, one drug” approach can be highly effective initially, but the stupendous rate of replication and mutation of viral genomes can quickly lead to resistance. The same is true for antimicrobial drugs targeting bacteria, where we battle increased resistance to available antibiotics.
This research program takes an entirely different approach by identifying human host proteins. These proteins interact physically with viral and bacterial gene products in ways that are essential for microbial pathogenesis, and thus may serve as targets for the development of new classes of anti- viral/bacterial therapeutics. The program builds upon solid prior research that used leading-edge technologies to define host-pathogen protein interactomes. In addition, the research will include further experiments to complete an atlas for additional pathogens, and will identify valid drug targets from among thousands of candidate host proteins. It will focus on targets that are important for pathogenesis of multiple pathogens (“one drug stops several bugs”), that can be drugged without toxic effects on the host, and that remain essential for pathogenesis despite pathogen evolution.

Program Objectives
  • Create a comprehensive map of the genetic and protein networks underlying infectious diseases.
  • Uncover host molecular pathways commonly hijacked by pathogens to reveal basic biological mechanisms and novel therapeutic targets.
  • Develop new technologies that use a single small molecule or drug to target multiple pathogens.