Distinguished Innovator Grant from Novo Nordisk to the research team of John Eriksson

    Professor John Eriksson and his research team have received the prestigious Distinguished Innovator grant of 6 million DKK (approximately 800 000 euro) from Novo Nordisk to support their project titled, “Prevention of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases: An Innovative Bioactive Repellent Embracing Circular Economy Principles.”

    This new project is a continuation of the successful HPV Horizon project (https://hpvhorizon.com/) and the long-term basic research that have been built especially through the contributions of team members Preethy Paul and Senthil Kumar, both integral to the team for over a decade. The HPV Horizon project aimed at specific targeting of the HPV E6 and E7 oncogenes is based on a pharmacologic diterpenoid compound family from the natural plant Anisomeles malabarica, leading also to the start-up company Anison Therapeutics (https://anisontherapeutics.com/).

    In the Novo Nordisk project, the collective and accumulated know-how in the team has been key when developing innovative bioactive repellents from the same Anisomeles plant, efficiently targeting disease vectors such as ticks and mosquitoes. The long-term basic research in the team has been instrumental when developing a set of naturally occurring, harmless and biodegradable compounds to combat vector-borne infectious diseases, such as Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis, Zika fever, malaria, yellow fever, and dengue fever.

    Overall, vector-based diseases pose significant risks to global health and there is an acute need for efficient and ecologically safe repellants and inhibitors. While the employed nature-derived compounds are completely harmless and biologically decomposable, they can be safely used even in wide distribution.

    The project also incorporates circular economy principles, as the repellent compound mixture is produced using the collected bio-waste from the medicinal plant after the HPV-targeting compounds have been extracted.