Novel Fusion Polypeptides as Antiviral and Cancer Therapeutics

Antitumor and antiviral effects of the fusion IFN-β-IFN-λ in vivo

Invention Summary:

Type I and Type III interferons (IFNs) are well known for their potent broad-spectrum antiviral activities. In addition, these pluripotent cytokines can also regulate cell growth and differentiation, tissue homeostasis, angiogenesis, as well as immune and inflammatory responses in various physiological and pathophysiological conditions. Due to their diverse functions, clinical applications for IFNs include treatment of chronic and acute viral infections, various malignancies, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Rutgers scientists have developed novel fusion proteins of type I and type III IFNs, with the potential to target a broader array of cell types and tissues and have both fast-acting and long-lasting effects for treating viral infections and cancer. The potent antiviral activity of the IFN-β-IFN-λ fusion protein was demonstrated in vivo against highly-virulent influenza A virus infection. Ability to induce antiviral protection in all cells of the respiratory tract makes this IFN fusion protein a strong candidate for the development as a broad-spectrum antiviral for the prevention and treatment of respiratory infections with highly pathogenic viruses, such as influenza, SARS, MERS, and novel coronavirus. In addition, the fusion protein strongly inhibited tumor growth in a mouse model of breast cancer.

Market Applications:

  • Cancer Therapeutics
  • Broad-spectrum Antiviral Therapeutics
  • Disease Prevention/Treatment


  • Ability to target multiple cell types/organs that display receptors for either type I or type III IFNs
  • Combination of the fast action of type I IFNs with long lasting effects of type III IFNs in a single peptide
  • Potentially synergistic effects
  • Simplified production and delivery as a single molecule
  • Potential higher efficacy due to higher affinity binding to the receptors


Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or collaboration.

Patent Information:
Fred Banti
Associate Director, Life Sciences
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey