February 11, 2022
The North Carolina General Assembly has allocated $18 million in its latest approved budget for the Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative (READDI) program, a global public-private partnership founded by the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, School of Medicine, the Gillings School of Global Public Health, the Eshelman Institute for Innovation, and the Structural Genomics Consortium.
READDI was created to generate new broad-spectrum antiviral therapies to save lives in the current pandemic and to prevent emerging threats from becoming global catastrophes.
The state funds will allow READDI to build out a small management team, including the initial hire of a CEO, who will work to create broad spectrum antiviral drugs to combat novel coronaviruses, among other viruses.
READDI will accomplish this by bringing together leaders from industry, government, philanthropic organizations, and academic research institutions to leverage existing platforms and accelerate the development of new antiviral drugs.
The goal is to generate five new antiviral drugs with human safety and dosing data (through Phase 1 clinical testing) in five years to be ready for the next pandemic.
The state budget allocation, combined with a recent $5 million award from RTI International’s Forethought Research Collaboration Challenge, is a strong start toward READDI’s $125 million full launch goal and overall goal of $500 million over five years, said John Bamforth, Interim Director of READDI.
“We can’t predict when future pandemics will strike, but we know they will,” Bamforth said. “These investments will help the state and nation better prepare for future global pandemic threats, including those from a novel coronavirus.”
To learn more about the initiative, visit the READDI website.