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Therapies to treat COVID-19

August 6, 2020

Invention Summary

Drug candidates to treat COVID-19 and a high throughput drug screening platform.

Technology Overview

The current COVID-19 pandemic has affected over 6 million people worldwide, has resulted in nearly 400,000 deaths, and is having a profound effect on the US and global economy. At present, no known therapies exist to prevent or treat COVID-19. Our understanding of the disease and the search for drug candidates are limited by the lack of appropriate disease models for drug screening. The COVID-19 disease is caused by a novel coronavirus SARS-Cov-2, which requires ACE2 receptors expressed in target tissues in order to enter the cells. The pulmonary system is the most vulnerable target organ for COVID-19. The invention identifies 4 FDA-approved generic compounds as inhibitory to viral entry in lung organoids and describes their novel use against COVID-19. This invention also describes the novel high throughput drug screening platform for COVID-19 on the basis of human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived lung organoids. hPSC-derived lung organoids express ACE2, are permissive to SARS-Cov-2 infection, and phenocopy COVID-19 disease when infected with SARS-Cov-2.

Potential Applications

  • Novel use of FDA-approved generic drugs to treat COVID-19.
  • Novel disease model and high throughput drug screening platform for COVID-19 drug candidates.


  • Human lung organoids are more physiologically relevant for developing and screening COVID-19 therapeutics than currently used models including cell cultures and transgenic animals.


Licensing Contact

Dan-Oscar Antson
(646) 962-7042


  • Shuibing Chen
  • Todd Evans
  • Xiaochua Duan
  • Yuling Han
  • Liuliu Yang
  • Lewis C. Cantley
  • Huanhuan Joyce Chen
  • Robert Schwartz
  • Tomer Yaron


  • Filed