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Apr. 21, 2020

RIKEN DMP launches special project to combat COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the RIKEN Program for Drug Discovery and Medical Technology Platforms (DMP) has launched a project to carry out research on potential therapeutic agents to the disease in collaboration with RIKEN's life science centers (the Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS), Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (BDR), Center for Integrative Medical Sciences (IMS), Medical Sciences Innovation Hub Program (MIH) and external research institutions.

The targets of the research will include 3CL protease (the virus’s main protease), papain-like protease, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, and TMPRSS2, a transmembrane protease. The goal will be to leverage the complementary strengths of the different programs while monitoring what other groups in Japan and the world are doing. In particular, the program will aim to accelerate drug discovery by combining areas in which RIKEN excels, such as protein structure analysis using structural biology, molecular simulations and artificial intelligence-based predictions using computational science, and immunotherapy using artificial adjuvant vector cells.