An international collaboration to discover and develop new therapeutic drugs is set to find new treatments for Ross River virus.

The mosquito-borne virus is widespread across Australia and the South Pacific, and is responsible for the debilitating Ross River fever that strikes about 5000 Australians each year.

The collaboration involves Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory, LLC (DRIVE) and UniQuest, the commercialisation company of The University of Queensland (UQ), through the Queensland Emory Drug Discovery Initiative (QEDDI).

The project is the first for QEDDI, a new drug development capability established at UQ, managed by UniQuest and supported by the Queensland Government through the Advance Queensland initiative.

In the collaboration, DRIVE will use its expertise in medicinal chemistry to deliver potential drug candidates to UQ for investigation using their expertise in the area of Ross River Virus for antiviral testing.

The groups will then collaborate on the further development of any promising drug candidates for the treatment of Ross River Virus, with QEDDI, DRIVE and the Emory Institute for Drug Development (EIDD) contributing expertise in medicinal chemistry and UQ its expertise in Ross River Virus research.

“This collaboration fits squarely in our mission,” says George Painter, CEO of DRIVE and EIDD. “We have expertise in finding antiviral drugs that may be of value across many unmet needs. To work in a focused manner with world experts in Ross River Virus at the University of Queensland greatly increases our chances of success in treating this and other unmet viral diseases that cause so much suffering.”

UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said he was delighted to see the collaboration come to fruition.

“We are very pleased to be collaborating with our colleagues at DRIVE and Emory University in identifying new treatments for Ross River virus that would help many Queenslanders,” Dr Moss said.

“QEDDI was recently established to translate Queensland’s world-leading biological science into small molecule drug candidates with commercial opportunities. Ross River is a debilitating virus that affects many Queenslanders, so an effective treatment would have great benefit.”

QEDDI and DRIVE were established to pursue the discovery and development of potential new disease treatments through collaboration and commercial relationships.



DRIVE is a not-for-profit company wholly owned by Emory, but with the independence to run like a biotechnology company. DRIVE applies focus and industry development expertise to efficiently translate discoveries to address viruses of global concern.


The Queensland Emory Drug Discovery Initiative (QEDDI) is an initiative providing access to medicinal chemistry capabilities in addition to drug discovery and development expertise.  Managed by UniQuest, UQ’s main commercialisation company and supported by the Queensland Government, QEDDI will oversee the development of a pipeline of new drug candidates to meet existing and future global health challenges including cancer, diabetes, inflammatory disorders and infectious diseases.

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