November 1, 2017

UConn spinout wins NIH funding to develop treatments for Herpes Simplex Virus

Quercus Molecular Design (QMD), a UConn-related startup, has received a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) award of $256,000 to develop inhibitors that block Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) proteins used in reproduction of the virus.

The grant is from from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

QMD says its approach is expected to lead to production of antiviral therapeutics that are more potent and less susceptible to the development of mutation-based drug resistance, according to UConn. Currently, patients are often treated with a cocktail of drugs against different targets of a disease to avoid resistance, increasing the risk of negative side effects.

QMD's team includes chief chemistry officer and UConn professor of medicinal chemistry, Dennis Wright; co-founder and chief biology officer Sandra Weller, chair of the department of molecular biology and biophysics at UConn's School of Medicine; and her brother, Bradford Weller, QMD's CEO.

QMD is located at the UConn Technology Incubation Program (TIP) on the UConn Health campus in Farmington. Weller and Wright received early support for the project that led to the startup through the "Program in Innovative Therapeutics for Connecticut's Health" (PITCH), a state-funded partnership between Connecticut Innovations, UConn and Yale University.

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