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The AI-driven Structure-enabled Antiviral Platform (ASAP) has won an Exemplary Achievement Award from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The prize recognises data practices in biological and biomedical research labs during the active phase of research.

© Photo credit: Matteo Ferla

The ASAP Discovery Consortium, one of 9 NIAID-funded AViDD Centers, has created a new model for how open science can accelerate drug discovery and thus develop a global antiviral pipeline to prevent future pandemics. ASAP harnesses the power of artificial intelligence and computational chemistry to structure-based open-science drug discovery, and applies this advanced toolset to targets from viruses with pandemic potential, in order to achieve oral antivirals with pan-viral efficacy.

Beyond this, ASAP’s strategic priority is to achieve global, equitable, and affordable access to these crucial medications.  To this end, ASAP has adopted open science as a bedrock principle, with full data sharing integrated into its operations, which allows is the mobilising of global resources when the health threat becomes urgent, in a pandemic outbreak. 

Accordingly, ASAP has created a website unique in its focus on the details that accelerate global drug discovery, in contrast with common practice of major non-profit drug discovery organisations, of revealing only high-level conceptual overviews.  

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are championing a vision of data sharing and reuse. The annual DataWorks Prize supports the vision of advancing scientific discovery and human health by rewarding teams demonstrating the impact of innovative data-sharing and reuse practices in biological and biomedical research.

The Dataworks prize has distributed 16 monetary team awards. This prize recognises the data practices in biomedical research labs, enabling robust data sharing and reuse, and creating a library of best practice methods that can be used by the broader research community.

Professor Frank von Delft, Professor of Structural Chemical Biology at NDM’s Centre for Medicines Discovery and a Project and Core Lead on ASAP, said: 'We are naturally delighted that our concept has received such high-level recognition. This lends crucial momentum to the overall premise that data sharing is a route to pandemic preparedness.  We already saw this effect from ASAP’s predecessor open science project, the COVID Moonshot, data of which directly contributed to the discovery and development by Shionogi of the anti-COVID pill Xocova, approved in Japan.  While ASAP is focused on viral pandemics, the approach applies equally to other health threats where drug discovery has been victim to market failure, including antimicrobials, antifungals and antiparastics.'