CAMBRIDGE, MA-- Katerva has chosen Draper Laboratory’s DRACO antiviral therapy as a finalist for its 2013 award in the Human Development category.
All of the finalists for the 2013 Katerva Award, which is billed as the “Nobel Prize for Sustainability,” are also eligible for the Katerva People’s Choice Award. Voting for the People Choice award is open to the public through March 28.
DRACO, which the White House described as “visionary” in its 2012 National Biotechnology Blueprint, is part of a family of broad-spectrum therapeutics under development at Draper that are effective against a wide array of pathogens, rather than specific threats. Work on the project, which is led by Todd Rider, began while Rider was a senior scientist at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory.
Upon administration to an animal or hopefully someday a person, Rider’s DRACO drug rapidly identifies virus-infected cells and eliminates them while leaving healthy cells untouched, thus eliminating the infection. DRACO, which stands for Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerizer, has proven effective and nontoxic in mice and in 11 different human and animal cell types against 15 different viruses, ranging from the common cold to dengue hemorrhagic fever.
The Katerva Award, now in its third year, draws upon experts from science, business, academia, finance, and government in an effort to crowd source ideas to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. Eligible projects are rated for validity, scalability, policy, and impact.
“Katerva is not just interested in 'good' ideas; the ideas we are after will create big changes in how we live on this planet,” Terry Waghorn, Katerva's founder and CEO, said on its website.