Director, GVN Center of Excellence
GVN SARS-CoV-2 Task Force Member
Professor, Rega Institute for Medical Research, University of Leuven, Belgium
Johan Neyts is full professor of virology at the University of Leuven, Belgium. His research is focused on the development of novel antiviral strategies against a number of viruses including picornaviruses, flaviviruses and HCV. His laboratory has also a long standing expertise with respect to the development of small animal models for flavivirus infections and with the molecular virology of flaviviruses. His team discovered together with Debiopharm (Lausanne) the anti-HCV activity of Debio-025, a compound which is now in clinical development by Novartis. Together with Prof. Gerhard Puerstinger (University of Innsbruck, Austria) he discovered a novel class of HCV inhibitors, of which the potent compound GS 9190 is now in phase II clinical development at Gilead Sciences (Foster City, CA, USA) under a license agreement with the University of Leuven. He is inventor on a number of patents in the antiviral field.
His work has been published in several book chapters and in more than 200 papers in international scientific journals. He is on the editorial board of the journals ‘Antiviral Research’ and ‘Antiviral Chemistry and Chemotherapy’, ad hoc reviewer for about 30 scientific journals, member of several national and international scientific committees and on the board of directors of the International Society for Antiviral Research. He is the Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder of the spin-out company Okapi Sciences NV. Over the last couple of years he has given about 85 invited lectures. He teaches medical virology at the school of dentistry and the school of medicine at the University of Leuven. He has been honoured with a number of awards including from the Royal Belgian Academy of Medicine, the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research and the International Society for Antiviral Research.
The Neyts lab is/was partner in four large EU funded consortia, i.e. a “Network of Excellence”, VIRGIL on antiviral drug resistance, an “Integrated Project” VIZIER on the replication machinery of RNA viruses as targets to inhibit viral replication, a specific targeted project “Dengframe” to identify strategies to control dengue and the “Coordinated Action” RiviGene on highly pathogenic viruses. Johan Neyts is the coordinator of a large NIAID/NIH funded project on poxvirus inhibitors and a large project on dengue drug discovery funded by the Welcome Trust.