Lindsay Brownell, Wyss Institute

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Harvard university’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering $16 million to identify and test FDA-approved drugs that could be repurposed to prevent or treat COVID-19.

Using its computational drug discovery pipelines and human Organ Chip technologies, the institute has already found multiple approved compounds that show promise against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The team, led by Wyss founding director Dr. Donald Ingber, is evaluating many more drugs. Lead compounds are being tested in high-throughput cell-based assays with CoV-2 virus in the lab of Matthew Frieman, associate professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The most promising drugs are being transferred to the lab of Benjamin tenOever at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai for testing in COVID-19 animal models. Human Organ Chip technology is also being set up in the Frieman and tenOever labs with equipment supplied by Wyss spinout Emulate, so that they can carry out experiments analyzing the human response to COVID-19 infection in vitro.

Get the full story on our WTWH affiliate site, R&D World.