VPD Drug Development

Multiscale Modeling and Viral Pandemics

Drug Development

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Group Contact:

Please contact JSluka@iu.edu if you wish to contribute to this group.

Group Focus:

Our focus is on the drug used to treat viral diseases in a pandemic setting. We exclude vaccine development as that is covered by a separate subgroup. We consider both the use of available therapeutics as well as the development of new therapeutics. Therapeutics of interest includes both antivirals and agents used to treat effect such as anti-inflammatories and immunosuppressives.

  • Act as a liaison between the Viral Pandemic working group and pharma.

  • Identify standard (existing) treatment modalities and collect (or provide links to) basic clinical data such as drug ADME data.

  • Act as a resource to groups developing multiscale modeling by providing data, and perhaps models (e.g., PK or PBPK), that include therapeutic interventions.

Use of Models to Support Drug Development

Statement from the Drug Development subgroup of the Multiscale Modeling (MSM) of Viral Pandemics working group. Updated version of the Jan. 16, 2021 document, changes highlighted in blue.

Virus diseases from emerging viral sources have become a major public health threat in the past two decades. These include severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in 2002, H1N1 influenza in 2009, the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012, Ebola virus disease (EVD) in 2013, and Zika virus in 2015. This subgroup will focus on the use of models to 1) improve translational fidelity of pre-clinical experimental models of infection, 2) inform strategies for clinical development of novel medications, including small molecule antivirals, and therapeutic antibodies and 3) inform strategies for repurposing existing antivirals and disease mitigating drugs.

Drug development is a complex, multi-dimensional, process. It is an expensive process, typically requiring investment of > $1 billion dollars, and requiring several years from target identification and molecular scaffold (lead) selection, to eventual clinical development, the latter itself also a multi-year process. Owing to its complexity, drug development is a risky process. In the past two decades, application of modeling and simulation approaches along the continuum of lead selection à lead optimization à preclinical candidate development à clinical development à regulatory approval has reduced the risks in this process.

The overarching goal of the Drug Development subgroup is to extract learning from models of other antiviral drugs, and other drug-based interventions, developed at all phases of drug discovery, development and use. Attaining this goal will identify current best practices. Hopefully, this awareness will result in recommendations for antiviral drug and disease mitigation drug development paradigms in which continuous evolution of modeling and simulation science is embraced and used to accelerate and de-risk the introduction of new treatments for anticipated new virus infection challenges to global public health.

Therapeutic Agents

  • New small-molecule drugs (often too slow, in practice, for pandemic response)
  • New therapeutic antibody drugs
  • Repurposed antiviral drugs (Remdesivir, Chloroquine, …)
  • Drugs to treat symptoms and for disease mitigation (Dexamethasone, …)
  • Purposefully excluding vaccine development

Therapeutic Approaches

  • Personalization of treatment
  • Time course of treatment
  • Multi-drug interventions

Group Goals:

  1. Identify people working in this area to include a paragraph on their work. (Suspense February 28, 2021)
    1. Recruit members (assemble the masses)
    2. Assemble into a directory of researchers. (bibliography for subgroup)
    3. Identify other subgroups that you should coordinate with
  2. Prepare a white paper, approx. 5pp in length, excluding references that does the following: (Suspense May 31, 2021)
    1. Describe the focus of the subgroup, the major problems within it, and the role modeling can play in it
    2. Describe what models and data are available, and the extent of our biological knowledge, available experimental systems, etc.
    3. Describe what is needed that does not exist yet: models, data, experimental approaches, etc.
    4. Outline any action items that could get us there.
    5. These white papers can form the basis of a collective publication on the topic of multi scale modeling and viral pandemics.
  3. Catalyze research projects through presentations, exchange of ideas, search for strategic opportunities. (Suspense August 30, 2021)​​​​​​​

Group Members:

Robert E. Stratford, PhD - Indiana University School of Medicine (Lead)
James (Jim) P. Sluka, PhD - Indiana University
Gary An, MD - University of Vermont
Chafiq Hamdouchi, PhD - Indiana University School of Medicine

Group Activities and Schedule:

If you would like to attend a teleconference please contact jsluka@iu.edu

3 Dec 2020 - Initial meeting via zoom

9 Dec 2020 - Added Gary Ann to group

23 Dec 2020 -

6 Jan 2021 -

20 Jan 2021 -


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