Since sirtuins hit the scene as modulators of numerous cellular pathways over 20 years ago, the enzymes have been implicated in metabolic diseases, aging and cancer. Now Forge Life Science LLC has licensed findings from Princeton University showing sirtuins have activity against a large number of viruses, and wants to create broad-spectrum antivirals that modulate sirtuins - analogous to the broad-spectrum antibiotics that revolutionized treatment of bacterial infections.
“There are roughly 115 different human viruses that have been sequenced and are known to cause disease in man, and we only have FDA-approved antivirals that can treat eight of them,” said Forge President and CEO Lillian Chiang. “If you add in vaccines, we can defend against only 15-20 viruses in a pandemic.”
She believes that modulating sirtuins will produce a more efficient treatment strategy than developing targeted therapies for each of the remaining viruses. The goal is to provide physicians with drugs that can be prescribed based on symptoms, rather than requiring timely and expensive diagnostic tests to identify the infectious agent.