Discovery of a protease inhibitor with activity against several parasitic infections

K777 is a cysteine protease inhibitor discovered through the collaboration between CDIPD (then the NIH-sponsored Tropical Disease Research Unit) and Khepri Biosciences (later Celera). Over the succeeding decade, K777 moved through the drug development pipeline with support from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, The Sandler Foundation, and the Institute for OneWorld Health. It is now undergoing late-stage preclinical development according to recommendations from a successful pre-IND meeting with the FDA. Aside from its original activity against Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent for Chagas' disease, K777 has also shown activity in animal models of hookworm infection, schistosomiasis and cryptosporidiosis, and inhibits the molting of Onchocerca volvulus, the causative agent of river blindness.