Leyden Labs is developing broad spectrum antivirals that target commonalities of viral families, potentially offering protection against known viruses as well as new viruses as they emerge.
The company was founded in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by Koenraad Wiedhaup, a former partner at McKinsey & Co, and three previous executives of Crucell, the Dutch vaccine company that is now part of Johnson & Johnson.
Leyden Labs’ platform targets commonalities of viral families to develop product candidates that protect against many strains of a virus simultaneously with a single product. The company is developing easy-to-use nasal spray product candidates that may allow people to immediately protect themselves against infection and transmission of known and new viruses.
In the example of the COVID-19 pandemic it would theoretically have been possible to use such products before there were any vaccines against the specific coronavirus strain. And later on, once vaccines had been developed it could be used on top of a vaccine to give protection to people with a weakened immune system or people who are older where their immune system is not functioning well.
With millions of viruses still harbored in nature, hundreds of thousands of which could spill over and mutate in humans, future pandemics are highly likely. Leyden Labs believes its proactive approach to pandemic preparedness could be a vital tool to tackle the devastating effects of future pandemics as well as recurring seasonal outbreaks such as influenza and coronaviruses.
The company is using artificial intelligence and other technologies to design its molecules and to target commonalities of virus families. It is yet to reveal if its portfolio consists of biologics or a combination of biologics and small molecule drugs.