Therapeutic Areas

Targeting HIV

HIV develops drug resistance with relative ease because the molecular targets of current drugs are relatively unconstrained, allowing the virus to quickly develop escape mutations. In contrast, we are developing inhibitors that target HIV Ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes, essential HIV structures that presents multiple barriers to viral resistance.

Within the constraints of a 10kb genome that encodes only 15 proteins, HIV has evolved a remarkable system to overcome the problem of producing RNA for protein production and to the pass on its genetic material. After the HIV particle has invaded a host cell, it "hijacks" the cellular machinery and initiates production of viral RNA. Host cells have a series of checkpoints to ensure that proper production, processing, and export of RNA occurs in a specific order. Because HIV must produce RNA for both protein production and packaging into progeny virus particles, it has evolved systems to bypass the RNA regulatory mechanisms of the cell. Specific HIV RNP complexes that perform these essential activities are the molecular targets of our therapeutics.