Institute Pasteur Korea (IP-K) confirmed the extension of separate research agreements with sanofi-aventis R&D in France and with the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases in Singapore. Both agreements are centered on use of IP-K’s PhenomicScreen® phenotype-based screening technology to mine its partners’ compound libraries for active compounds. The deal with the sanofi-aventis unit builds on a collaboration initially signed in 2009. IP-K’s new partnership with the Novartis Institute extends for a further two years an existing year-long agreement to mine the latter’s chemical compound library.
The PhenomicScreen platform is a target-free technology that combines imaging technologies with high-content and high-throughput visual screens to enable the assessment of biological events live and in real time. IP-K claims the approach essentially enables the cells to identify the most effective drug target out of the many complex molecular interactions underlying the development of a given disease. The upshot is that the process has the ability to select only those targets that are functionally significant to the disease process, it claims. Confirmation of successful hits is then followed by lead optimization and preclinical studies, with the whole process being completed in as little as 18 months.
“Our phenotypic approach does not rely on a predefined target, but rather simultaneously selects both chemical compounds and an unknown cellular target solely by the clearly discernible effect on the disease model,” notes IP-K’s Priscille Brodin, Ph.D.
In June IP-K teamed up with international Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative to exploit the PhenomicScreen technology for the discovery and development of potential drugs against leishmania and trypanosome. The research will involve IP-K screening third-party compounds originating from a range of academic and industry sources. The organization will in addition establish animal models of the relevant diseases in-house to carry out compound validation and potentially further development.