August 20 | 2010


Vienna, 5.8.2010 – Savira, an Austrian pharmaceutical company focusing on the development of novel anti-influenza drugs is part of a consortium under the lead of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), which was recently awarded a grant from the European Commission of EUR 6 million. Earlier this year, Savira received funding of kEUR 560 from the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) supporting its flu polymerase inhibitor development program.

Within the European Health Care Call – Influenza 2010 – of the Framework 7 program, the European Commission awarded a consortium co-ordinated by Stephen Cusack of the EMBL and consisting of several leading European influenza researchers and commercial companies a grant of EUR 6 millions. The consortium will pursue fundamental research on the influenza viral polymerase and push forward a drug development program with the aim of taking a novel influenza polymerase inhibitor into clinical development. The program is planned to start in Q4, 2010 and will support Savira’s development efforts over the next 3.5 years.

Oliver Szolar, CEO of Savira states “By awarding this grant, the experts at the European Commission have acknowledged the outstanding team, cutting edge science, the quality of the development program, clear management structures of the consortium and a clear vision for further clinical development.”

Earlier this year, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) awarded Savira a grant of kEUR 560 pursuing its flu polymerase inhibitor lead discovery and optimization program.

Savira expects private investment and collaboration agreements with strategic partners to secure financing through to clinical proof of concept studies.

Novel therapeutics based on the inhibition of the influenza polymerase

The PB2 cap-binding and PA endonuclease active sites, two crucial domains in the trimeric viral RNA-dependent polymerase, are among the most promising targets for novel anti-influenza drugs. Specialists in the field expect that, due to the conserved nature of these domains, new inhibitors will be less prone to the evolution of resistant virus strains. Detailed knowledge of the target structures recently identified by Stephen Cusack and co-workers at EMBL, Grenoble, will allow Savira Pharmaceuticals to rationally design selective inhibitors of the influenza virus polymerase. First hits that have proven to be active in cellular antiviral assays.

About Savira

Savira pharmaceuticals a Vienna, Austria based company, exploits technology from its cofounders the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) from Heidelberg, Germany and the biotech company onepharm from Vienna, Austria. EMBL has licensed the intellectual property on groundbreaking results of the structural identification of two influenza polymerase targets to Savira pharmaceuticals.

About EMBL

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory is a basic research institute funded by public research monies from 20 member states (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) and associate member state Australia. Research at EMBL is conducted by approximately 80 independent groups covering the spectrum of molecular biology. The Laboratory has five units: the main Laboratory in Heidelberg, and Outstations in Hinxton (the European Bioinformatics Institute), Grenoble, Hamburg, and Monterotondo near Rome. The cornerstones of EMBL’s mission are: to perform basic research in molecular biology; to train scientists, students, and visitors at all levels; to offer vital services to scientists in the member states; to develop new instruments and methods in the life sciences and to actively engage in technology transfer activities. EMBL’s International PhD Programme has a student body of about 170. The Laboratory also sponsors an active Science and Society programme. Visitors from the press and public are welcome.

Klick to download PDF: 20100727 Savira-Press release.pdf