APR 2020

A Spanish-Swiss Liaison to fight COVID-19


Barcelona, Spain and Villigen Switzerland – 14th April, 2020


Today, Prof. Jana Selent from the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) in Barcelona, Spain, and InterAx Biotech in Villigen, Switzerland announce a COVID-19 collaboration, funded by the catalán life sciences and healthcare innovation institution Biocat. The goal of this collaboration is to identify antiviral drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 by combining virtual screening of a 3D-structural database and assessing the effectiveness of these compounds to block viral entry.

In December 2019, the highly contagious and pathogenic human CoVs (the SARS-CoV-2) appeared in Wuhan (China), which has led to a pandemic with high morbidity and mortality. Prof. Selent and her team have now joined forces with InterAx Biotech to screen for potential antiviral compounds in a virtual 3D-structrual database by using specific computational algorithms and to subsequently test their effectiveness in a SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus entry blocking assay. The main goal of this project is to identify antiviral drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 by reprofiling existing drugs. Prof. Selent says: ”For this project, we focus on two strategies that interfere with the cell entry of SARS-CoV-2. One is to target the spike glycoprotein S of SARS-CoV-2 and the other one is to tackle the serine protease TMPRSS2. We are excited to team up with InterAx Biotech on testing these compounds in the wet-lab and anticipate that such a dual strategy increases the success rate of discovering effective therapeutic agents against COVID-19.”

The team of InterAx Biotech and Professor Jana Selent’s team hope to test the first antiviral compounds by May 2020. 


For further information, please contact:

Dr. Jana Selent, Head of GPCR Drug Discovery Lab   |   IMIM, 08003, Barcelona, Spain.  |   Tel. 0034/933160648  

Dr. Maria Waldhoer, Chief Science Officer  |  InterAx Biotech, 5234 Villigen, Switzerland  |  contact@interaxbiotech.com



Webpage IMIM: www.imim.es

Webpage Funding agency: www.biocat.cat

Webpage Selent Lab: COVID-19 project progress

Movie: Target modelling

APR 2020


InterAx Biotech supporting the COVID-19 initiative

SARS-CoV-2/ACE-2 pseudovirus entry blocking assay


The spike glypcoprotein S of SARS-CoV-2 uses the human Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) as an entry receptor and recognizes it with a similar affinity to the 2002–2003 SARS-CoV isolates, which suggests it can spread efficiently in humans, in agreement with the numerous SARS-CoV-2 human-to-human transmission events reported to date (Walls et al., 2020).


In collaboration with its academic partners at the PSI, InterAx Biotech is establishing a pseudovirus entry assay using murine leukemia virus based pseudotyped particles expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (and other relevant SARS-CoV-2 envelope proteins). The assay is described in detail in Walls et al. (2020) and Millet et al. (2016, 2019) and will enable a medium-throughput (96 well format) screen for blocking the interaction of the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein (and other envelope proteins) and the human ACE2 expressed in a host target cell line. This assay is suitable to be performed in the BSL-2 facilities at PSI and non-infective compounds ranging from small molecules to antibody sera can be tested. For detailed information please send an Email to contact@interaxbiotech.com with COVID-19 in the header.




Walls AC, Park YJ, Tortorici MA, Wall A, McGuire AT, Veesler D. Structure, Function, and Antigenicity of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Glycoprotein. Cell. 2020 Mar 6. pii: S0092-8674(20)30262-2. 

Millet JK, Tang T, Nathan L, Jaimes JA, Hsu HL, Daniel S, Whittaker GR. Production of Pseudotyped Particles to Study Highly Pathogenic Coronaviruses in a Biosafety Level 2 Setting. J Vis Exp., 2019 Mar 1;(145). 

Millet JK, Whittaker GR. Murine Leukemia Virus (MLV)-based Coronavirus Spike-pseudotyped Particle Production and Infection.  Bio Protoc. 2016 Dec 5;6(23). pii: e2035