Collaboration to accelerate early-stage drug discovery

Wednesday, 07 November, 2018

Collaboration to accelerate early-stage drug discovery

Australian biomedical research company BioCurate and multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis have announced they will collaborate on early-stage drug discovery projects that have potential to address an unmet need.

BioCurate, a joint venture of Monash University and the University of Melbourne and supported by the Victorian Government, was formed in order to address the ‘valley of death’ that currently limits the translation and commercialisation of early-stage research. Brett Roberts, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Novartis, said the collaboration with BioCurate is an opportunity to work with the universities on innovative new medicines.

“We are very excited to be able to bring together the global scientific and technical expertise of researchers at the Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research (NIBR) with BioCurate’s expertise in curating and translating early-stage science into development-ready Australian research projects,” Roberts said.

BioCurate CEO Dr C Glenn Begley said the company recognises the importance of early engagement with a range of leading industry partners to ensure new drug development programs are informed and aligned with addressing unmet patient and market needs.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Novartis — a first-class innovator with considerable expertise and infrastructure that can potentially support Australia’s drug discovery and development capabilities,” Dr Begley said. He added that the collaboration marks the first in a number of similar arrangements currently under discussion with other potential industry partners.

BioCurate is housed in the internationally renowned ‘Parkville Precinct’ in Melbourne, a cluster of 30 world-class hospitals, research institutes, teaching and biotech organisations employing approximately 10,000 researchers. Dr Begley said, “BioCurate is uniquely positioned to lead the establishment of a number of international industry experts who are able to provide invaluable scientific advice, commercial insight and partnering opportunities to BioCurate and Australia’s medical research sector.”

According to Novartis Australia Chief Scientific Officer Dr Simon Fisher, the collaboration is an opportunity to leverage an internationally experienced team dedicated to rigorous analysis of local science to address unmet patient needs as well as commercial potential. While the therapy focus areas of the partnership are yet to be confirmed, the focus will be to triage and prioritise the highest quality early-stage research opportunities from BioCurate’s review of a promising portfolio of projects.

“This collaboration opens the door to overcome barriers that limit the translation and commercialisation of early-stage research progressing to new medicines and providing benefits to patients,” Dr Fisher said.

“We know the research undertaken in Australia is as good as anything globally, so this is an opportunity to help advance the outputs of Australian science. We hope that collaborations of this kind will benefit Australian science and patients.”

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