Skip to content

IRBM to collaborate with MSD to develop peptides against coronavirus

IRBM to collaborate with MSD to develop peptides against coronavirus

Builds on Research to Combat Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

21st July 2020, Rome, Italy – IRBM, a global Contract Research Organization today announced a new research collaboration agreement with MSD (tradename of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA) to identify and develop novel peptide therapeutics active against different strains of coronavirus, including SARS-CoV-2. The parties will collaborate in hit to lead optimization and preclinical drug development to rapidly advance selected candidates towards the clinic.

IRBM has a broad and deep expertise in peptide drug development, from target validation to initial hit identification to the development of a clinical candidate, with the required properties of specificity, potency, pharmacokinetics, metabolism and toxicology. IRBM will leverage previous research into SARS to contribute to identifying and developing a potential treatment of SARS-CoV-2, as well as other future life-threatening coronavirus strains.

“With this new outbreak of coronavirus, it makes sense for MSD and IRBM to join forces in this crucial area and work together on a treatment for this devastating pandemic as well as possible future pandemics.” said Carlo Toniatti, CSO at IRBM. “Our accomplished team here, led by Elisabetta Bianchi, and at MSD have a long heritage in the field of peptide development and have the expertise required to tackle this challenging project”

“MSD and IRBM have a proud history of conducting breakthrough antiviral research,” said Daria Hazuda, vice president infectious diseases and vaccines discovery, MSD and Chief Scientific Officer MSD Exploratory Science Centre. “We look forward to advancing this important program.”


About IRBM

IRBM is an innovative contract research organization working across all aspects of drug discovery and early development for different modalities – small molecule, peptides and antibodies. We foster collaborations with organizations from the pharmaceutical, biotech and academic sectors to accelerate drug discovery from target validation and hit identification to candidate nomination. Our multidisciplinary teams work at a state-of-the-art R&D facility near Rome where projects are carried out “under one roof” enabling rapid cycle times and close integration of the scientific teams. IRBM’s scientists have discovered several drugs that are on the market, and more than 25 compounds have gone into clinical testing. The company was founded in 2010, as a spin-off from MSD. Now in our 10th year and celebrating our 10th anniversary as an independent research organisation, we have laid the foundations to become a global centre for excellence in all aspects of drug discovery and early development

For further information, images and interview opportunities with IRBM, please contact:




Back To Top