Billion Molecules against Covid-19
Stage 1 (open now!)
Deadline for submission is Saturday June 6 at noon CET.
The big problem to solve
It is critical to rapidly identify molecules/peptides/proteins that can block the development and/or spreading of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and stop Covid-19 related disease. Computational methods (in silico) can quickly screen interactions of existing compounds with Covid-19 targets, but novel methods are needed to get high success rates in the (pre-)clinical phases. In addition, experimental validation of lead compounds is needed to benchmark the in silico hits.
Screen billion possible molecular compounds that can block SARS-CoV-2
Improve (in silico or others) methods to identify compounds with blocking interactions relevant to any SARS-CoV-2 target, by optimizing/accelerating the use of HPC (High Performance Computing), Artificial Intelligence, and provide experimental validation.
The GrandChallenge will proceed in three stages, where stage 1 and 2 are sequential and stage 3 is independent. Teams can participate in only one or in multiple stages. The aim is to get high-quality lead compounds for multiple SARS-CoV-2 targets by cross-checking multiple simulation approaches. The top-scoring compounds will be analyzed experimentally using direct affinity assays, as well as viral assays on live SARS-CoV-2. A special prize will be awarded for reduction of the yield of infectious virus by > 2-log in cell culture using novel cocktails of already FDA-approved drugs/compounds at sub-micromolar concentrations, and proven effectiveness in an animal model at physiologically relevant doses. All findings will be quickly and publicly shared with the world to battle Covid-19. This challenge is open to any team in the world, requiring breakthrough approaches in computational method and rapid experimental screening. Collaboration of teams in computation, drug development, virology, and clinical models will be necessary.
The uniqueness of this JEDI GrandChallenge is to push for (i) modelling a number of active molecules at a scale never seen before (ii) the determination of a highly accurate list of active compounds cross-correlated by the teams all over the world, (iii) ultra fast-track in-vitro identification of molecules with 2-log reduction in viral activity and (iv) identifying the best drug-cocktail out of existing FDA-approved molecules.
How to participate to the Covid-19 GRANDCHALLENGE ?
Our Scientific Committee
Prof. Charles L. Brooks III
Research Group Leader, Department of Chemistry and Biophysics Program, University of Michigan
Prof. John Chodera
Research Group Leader at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Member of the project for simulating protein dynamics Folding@home
Prof. Babak Falsafi
Computer architecture, founder and director of the consortium EcoCloud, Professor in Computer Sciences, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Prof. Bryan Ford
Associate Professor and Head of the Decentralized and Distributed Lab of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Prof. Adolfo Garcia-Sastre
Director of the Global Health and Emerging Pathogens Institute, Mount Sinai
Dr. Marion Guillou
Former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) and former chairwoman of Ecole Polytechnique
LIT AI Lab & Institute for Machine Learning, Johannes Kepler University Linz
Prof. Marion Koopmans
Member of the advisory panel on COVID-19 of the European Commission, Director of a WHO collaborating center, and Head of the department of Viroscience, Erasmus Medical Center
Prof. Sang-Yup Lee
Director of the Bioinformatics Research Center, Korean Advanced Institute for Science and Technology
Dr. Nadia Naffakh
Head of the RNA Biology of Influenza Viruses Unit, Institut Pasteur-CNRS
Sir Peter Ratcliffe
Director of Clinical Research at the Francis Crick Institute and Nobel Laureate 2019 in Physiology or Medicine
Dr. Stephane Requena
Innovation and Technology Director, French HPC network GENCI
Prof. Bernhard Schoelkopf
Head of Department Empirical Inference
Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems
Prof. Fabian Theis
Head of the Institute of Computational Biology and Research Group Leader, Helmholtz Zentrum Munich
Prof. Alexandre Varnek
Head of the Laboratory of Cheminformatics, University of Strasbourg
Dr. Daniel Verwaerde
Current CEO of Teratec and former CEO of the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA)
The Joint European Disruptive Initiative (JEDI) is the initiative for disruptive innovation to bring Europe in a leadership position in breakthrough technologies. It is powered by 3.700 leaders of Europe’s deeptech ecosystem in 23 countries. JEDI is launching Tech GrandChallenges to push the frontiers of innovation, with a radical method based on excellence, no geographical return, speed, highest expectations & bold risk-taking. Driven by humanistic values, a purpose-driven approach to solve major societal issues in environment/healthcare/digital/space through innovation. For this Covid-19 Challenge we are operating on a worldwide level, not just Europe. Follow twitter @eurojedi
Prof. Thomas M. Hermans
Thomas Hermans is professor in Chemistry at the University of Strasbourg and group leader of the Laboratory of Nonequilibrium Complex Systems (www.hermanslab.com).
He received the ERC Starting Grant 2017, Thieme Chemistry Award 2018, Prix Guy Ourisson 2018, and is a Young Scientist at World Economic Forum and the World Laureates Association.