EvaMobs Kick-off: Catalyze partner in the project

On 29th of February, the €8M Horizon Europe EvaMobs project kicked-off at ITQB NOVA, in Oeiras, Portugal. Led by ITQB NOVA from NOVA University of Lisbon, the project has 11 partners who will develop a new platform for development of novel antiviral biopharmaceuticals. Catalyze is a partner delivering the Communication and Dissemination package.

EvaMobs consortium members during the kick-off meeting.

EvaMobs: Strengthening the EU’s pandemic preparedness

In the EvaMobs project, funded by the Horizon Europe programme (grant number 101137419), a consortium of renowned partners is diving into a novel technique for developing antivirals. Currently, the antivirals that we have available are specifically targeted to a certain virus, such as the flu virus, and can thereby only act against a limited number of viruses. But what if instead of developing only one specific antiviral at a time we could develop a platform that can rapidly discover and produce the specific molecules that can fight any given virus and reduce the risk of pandemic outbreaks?

To achieve this, EvaMobs is taking a novel approach, using so-called evolvable “monobodies”, or “Mobs” for short. Mobs are small proteins that can be built to have a high affinity for any type of viral protein. In other words, this framework can be used to easily generate specific molecules that can “attack” and inactivate a virus. The technology can be used to create molecules that can be easily tailored to a broad range of different viruses. Using evolvable and rapidly adaptable monobodies, the EvaMobs project aims to create a platform for the quick development of new antiviral biopharmaceuticals.

“We are really excited…”

EvaMobs is led by Cláudio Soares and Diana Lousa, of the Protein Modelling Laboratory at ITQB, who are experts in computational biology. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they joined forces with other partners and implemented the BioPlaTTAR project, financed by the La Caixa foundation, to develop antiviral miniproteins and antibodies. This has already generated promising antiviral leads. EvaMobs was born from the desire to take things further, by focusing on Mobs that offer several advantages over traditional biopharmaceuticals, and going up to phase I clinical trials to show that the strategy is safe and effective.

Cláudio Soares explains, “By streamlining a platform that is able to quickly go all the way from the computational design up to the clinical validation, we will not only increase our preparedness to fight viral pathogens but also open new avenues to fight multiple diseases.”

To achieve these objectives, the project leaders teamed up with a large and interdisciplinary team of renowned experts in different fields. Making up the EvaMobs consortium are 11 partners, from Portugal, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Croatia, Germany and the Netherlands. The team combines expertise ranging from fundamental computational biology to clinical trials.

Diana Lousa enthuses, “We are really excited to work with such a strong and eclectic team to create the biopharmaceuticals of the future!”

Catalyze: EvaMobs partner delivering Communication and Dissemination

Catalyze is involved as a partner responsible for the Communication and Dissemination work package, ensuring that the project and its results are communicated effectively to the various audiences involved.

Vera van de Donk, Catalyze Science Communication Advisor, explains, “To maximize the impact of the EvaMobs project, we need to strategize the project’s communication activities, making sure we effectively reach and engage with the key stakeholders. It all starts with this impactful Communication and Dissemination strategy, outlining the activities and channels to use throughout the project. With these clear guidelines, we can make sure of effective dissemination of the project’s results.”

Vera van de Donk, Science Communication Advisor at Catalyze

Combining Expertise

In the five-year project, EvaMobs will focus on 4 main viruses: SARS-CoV-2, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza, and the Zika virus. These 4 test cases will be used to validate the efficacy of the EvaMobs  platform. To achieve this platform for broad-spectrum antiviral production, the project combines expertise from different fields. Starting with combining computational design and artificial intelligence, the platform aims to be able to generate millions of computer-designed Mobs.

The platform will predict which modifications to make to the original protein to create a Mob that can inactivate the targeted virus. By characterizing all potential Mob candidates, a narrowed down selection of several hundred will be produced and tested in viral infection assays. From these assays, the most promising Mobs will be selected for further trials and testing. Ultimately, the best Mob will be tested in a phase 1 clinical trial.

With this platform in place, we will be able to act fast and produce new antivirals rapidly during a future viral outbreak, strengthening the EU’s pandemic preparedness.

EvaMobs Project Facts

Project name: Evolvable and rapidly adaptable monobodies: a broad-spectrum antiviral platform

Project acronym: EvaMobs

Start date: 1 January 2024

Duration: 5 years

Budget: €8 million

Coordination: ITQB NOVA University of Lisbon


EvaMobs Project Partners

Making up the consortium are:

Find out more at the EvaMobs website.


About Catalyze

Catalyze is an innovation consultancy offering services to develop effective strategy, procure (non-) dilutive funding, ensure successful project delivery, and more, for clients working in the fields of life sciences & health, and green & sustainable innovations. Driven by a belief that the most meaningful innovations deserve the best chance to succeed, Catalyze has established itself as a key player in the innovation ecosystem, headquartered in Amsterdam and operating worldwide. To date, Catalyze has raised more than €1 billion in funding for its clients, built a network ecosystem of more than 2500 partners, and manages a €300M+ project portfolio.


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