Cofounded by PureTech Ventures, Enlight Biosciences will focus on technologies and tests that predict human response earlier in development.

Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Merck & Co. are investing $39 million to form a company to address the issue of high attrition rates in drug development. The new entity, Enlight Biosciences, has been cofounded by PureTech Ventures and academic researchers.

Enlight will develop technologies in a precompetitive model according to what its founding members require. All three firms will have access to any technology or tests developed.

Enlight Biosciences has reportedly already begun studies in molecular imaging, biologics, and drug delivery. The company will work on technologies that: increase the likelihood of success for drugs that pass early development milestones, help with early prediction of human response, provide accurate readouts of animal and human response to intervention, such as molecular imaging and biomarkers, and make promising chemical and biological compounds better suited to human treatment in terms of formulation and drug delivery.

Technologies that can better predict the right candidates for development and thus make Phase III evaluations more predictable often lose out on investment dollars, PureTech points out. In spite of strides made in this area of technology development for drug R&D, such as PCR, RNAi, and high-throughput screening, the industry still struggles with compounds failing in late-stage trials after billions of dollars have been invested.

“At a time when there is concern over productivity in R&D, Enlight Biosciences is providing a safe haven where leaders in the pharmaceutical industry can develop tools that will accelerate innovation and delivery of novel drugs to patients,” states Frank Douglas, M.D., Ph.D., PureTech Ventures Partner.

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