Our goals are to advocate for collaborative efforts to prioritize antivirals within pandemic preparedness and to apply industry expertise in drug development to progress the antiviral pipeline. To do this, we work together with stakeholders in the public, private and non-for-profit sectors, to help accelerate the collective understanding of antiviral R&D, identifying promising clinical and preclinical compounds, and to catalyze efforts to fill the current pipeline gaps.
SARS-CoV-2 was the most recent in a long line of viruses with pandemic potential and it will not be the last. The goal of the INTREPID Alliance is to build on lessons learned from COVID-19 and better prepare the world for future viral threats.”
It will take a breadth of new ideas and diverse approaches supported by effective collaborations to successfully tackle the daunting task of antiviral pandemic preparedness. That’s why we formed INTREPID: to facilitate the advancement of science, face the challenges and prepare for the future together.”
Luck is not a strategy. Humanity is likely to face new forms of respiratory pathogens that hold the potential to become pandemics – in our lifetime.”
The emergence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused COVID-19, caught the world off-guard. It shouldn’t have.
Harbingers of infectious viral pandemics, such as the influenza H1N1, SARS, Zika, Ebola and MERS viruses had all emerged in the first two decades of the 21st century. Despite these devastating warnings, societies across the world still lacked promising therapeutic tools that could be rapidly and sustainably scaled at a global level when COVID-19 emerged.
Globalization, urban expansion, and exploitation of natural habitats suggest humanity will face new forms of respiratory pathogens that hold the potential to become pandemics. What we can’t predict is its lethality, timing and virulence. Vaccines and monoclonal antibodies proved effective against SARS-CoV-2, however, their development, cost and scale have limited their use in many of the world’s most populous nations. Orally available small molecule antiviral drugs for rapid mobilization and distribution are a critical tool to protect societies from a new viral pandemic. Unlike some vaccines and antibodies, antiviral therapies might be less prone to the impact of virus genetic evolution, may be effective against a broad range of viruses and can change the course of disease even after infection. Moreover, they generally are not subject to the same public distrust that has unfortunately prejudiced some against vaccines.
History has shown efforts to prevent infectious epidemics wane after the immediate crisis ebbs. We can’t let history repeat itself again; we can do something to stop it.”
small molecule antivirals can be used to reduce morbidity and mortality in infected patients, and slow the development and transmission of new variants escaping vaccines and neutralizing antibodies. Most small molecule antivirals can be produced rapidly and in a cost-effective manner at a global scale in existing facilities, but they require years to discover and develop, so research and development work must begin now.
INTREPID efforts focus on catalyzing the development of therapeutic assets for high-risk viral families, including those recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and NIH/NIAID as viruses of pandemic potential.
Across key sectors of the R &D ecosystem, a diverse portfolio of properly de-risked, small molecule therapies exists that can be immediately confirmed in late-stage trials if a high-risk pathogen begins to spread in humans.
Enhanced Early Science Collaboration: By working with partners in other sectors, members of INTREPID will engage in early science collaboration, data sharing and capability development, to accelerate our understanding of viral targets and increase the likelihood of identifying promising chemical leads. INTREPID will monitor and evaluate the wide range of innovative antiviral compounds and projects being researched around the world by academia, government and non-governmental organizations and the private sector, for infections with pandemic potential, including coronaviruses, filoviruses and other viral families. The selected compounds would be those that the experts assess to be able to proceed quickly into late-stage clinical development on the onset of a new pandemic. INTREPID will then publish its initial list of promising clinical and preclinical antiviral compounds later in 2024 derived from this global landscape assessment and scientific evaluation. We will also update this publicly available landscape analysis on a quarterly basis to identify gaps and unmet needs in the complex and evolving antiviral R&D ecosystem.
Stakeholder Engagement: By aligning on unmet needs in antiviral pandemic preparedness that are identified by stakeholders, INTREPID will serve as a hub and convenor for cross-sector engagement.
Policy and Advocacy: Working with governments, academia, and private and philanthropic organizations that share our goals, INTREPID aims to shape a favorable legislative and regulatory environment for novel antivirals, increasing our ability to rapidly mobilize confirmed and authorized antivirals in the event of the next pandemic.
SARS-CoV-2 demonstrated the vital importance of strong public-private partnerships for pandemic response. Ahead of the next pandemic, governments’ continued focus on preparedness through policy and regulatory innovation, funding for antiviral countermeasures development, and resilient health systems is essential. The INTREPID Alliance is committed to bringing the best science forward to achieve the goal of having effective medicines ready to deploy as soon as they’re needed.”