Service providers look to address ‘innovation crisis’ with discovery automation

By Vassia Barba contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/tiero)
(Image: Getty/tiero)

Related tags: Arctoris, Molecule, Intellectual property, Software

Lack of reproducibility in drug discovery has thrown the industry into crisis, scientists from Molecule and Arctoris claim, and suggest their discovery platform answers this challenge.

Arctoris has developed a drug discovery platform enabling design and execution of cell-based, molecular biology and biochemical assays, leveraging robotic technology.

Data generated by these assays is then visualized and analyzed on a cloud platform, allowing for transparency, precision, and consistency in preclinical R&D, according to the company.

On its side, Molecule holds an IP ownership platform, which enables stakeholders in drug development to collaborate and share ownership of the IP that they are working to develop.

The platform aims to facilitate and streamline funding and collaboration between academic medical centers, universities, and early-stage biotech startups, by ‘fractionalizing’ IP ownership, distributing shares in IP to parties who wish to collaborate.

The partnership will see the two companies combine their technologies to create a ‘modular pipeline’ for distributed therapeutics development. They will bring in universities, patient advocacy groups, pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies, as well as investors.

Commenting on the potential of the joint offering, Martin-Immanuel Bittner, CEO of Arctoris, told us that holders of pharmaceutical IP will be able to raise funding for drug development by selling shares in pharmaceutical IP at any stage of development.

Moreover, they will be able to find collaborators, such as other universities and academic medical centers to co-develop therapeutics, “sharing in the risks and rewards in a more open R&D process.”

Ultimately, the collaborative work of the CROs will enable holders of pharmaceutical IP run fully validated drug discovery experiments to generate structured, standardized, and reproducible data underpinning their drug discovery project, and complete or create bounties for specific drug development-related tasks.

According to Bittner, the companies are currently evaluating projects that would be appropriate for this use case, and plan to launch a first proof-of-concept use case in the next six months.

Drug discovery under pressure

Asked about the ‘innovation crisis’ that the companies aim to address, Arctori’s CEO told us that the drug discovery ecosystem is ‘under huge pressure’, as the industry enters the era of precision medicine and the end of the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach for therapeutics.

“Instead of developing one blockbuster drug, our increasing understanding of patient subgroups means we need to develop a much larger number of drugs to treat very specific mutations or conditions in a targeted way,”​ Bittner commented.

According to the executive, this poses great challenges for the whole industry, compounded by rising costs and the widespread lack of reproducibility of research findings.

“In other words, the current number of drugs approved each year (only about 40 new drugs are approved by the FDA per year) is not even a fraction of what we will need in the future,” ​he concluded.


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