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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

New academic-pharma partnership to transform drug discovery for cancer and rare diseases

Health Industry Hub | June 5, 2023 |

Pharma News: In a promising academic-pharma collaboration, the realms of cutting-edge science and pharmaceutical innovation have converged to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in the pursuit of novel treatments for cancers and rare diseases.

The partnership between University of Sydney and Pharos Therapeutics, the Australian subsidiary of South Korean pharmaceutical giant Pharos iBio, was formalised through a memorandum of understanding (MoU), granting the University’s Drug Discovery Initiative exclusive access to Pharos iBio’s state-of-the-art AI drug development platform, Chemiverse. By combining the University’s renowned team of researchers and cutting-edge infrastructure with Pharos iBio’s proprietary technology, both parties aim to accelerate the identification and development of promising compounds.

Professor Michael Kassiou, Director of the Drug Discovery Initiative, commented on the transformative potential of this collaboration. “The process of developing drugs for treating disease is highly complex. We are incredibly excited to be working with Pharos Therapeutics, which will bring its cutting-edge artificial intelligence platform Chemiverse to this partnership. This platform will greatly enhance our ability to develop novel treatments for unmet medical needs,” he said.

The Drug Discovery Initiative, located in the prestigious School of Chemistry, serves as an interdisciplinary academic network, uniting the best minds, technologies, and tools to expedite early-stage drug development. Professor Julie Cairney, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research Enterprise), emphasised the University’s commitment to translating fundamental research into tangible solutions. He stated “Our relationship with Pharos Therapeutics will help to capitalise on expertise within our Drug Discovery Initiative for the development of potentially life-saving targets for cancer and rare diseases.”

Dr Kyu-Tae Kim, co-CEO of Pharos Therapeutics in Australia, shared the enthusiasm. “We are thrilled to work together with the University and the Drug Discovery Initiative to utilise cutting-edge infrastructure for the acceleration of further drug discovery,” he said.

Pharos iBio’s Chemiverse platform boasts the ability to guide the entire process of new drug development, from target discovery to lead compound generation, incorporating a staggering 230 million pieces of big data and advanced algorithms. Currently, Pharos iBio is advancing around ten pipeline projects, including the promising acute myeloid leukemia treatment, “PHI-101,” which is currently undergoing phase 1b clinical trials.

This collaboration is the latest in a series of milestones for the Drug Discovery Initiative and Professor Kassiou. In March, the NSW Government provided funding for the establishment of the NSW Organoid Innovation Centre, a cutting-edge facility directed by Professor Kassiou that harnesses state-of-the-art stem-cell techniques to expedite drug discovery and design.

Earlier this year, Pharos Therapeutics also joined the Sydney Knowledge Hub, a vibrant startup incubator and coworking space at the University. The partnership aims to foster collaboration between industry and the esteemed Sydney research community.

Rupal Ismin, Director of the Sydney Knowledge Hub, expressed her excitement. “It’s wonderful to see Pharos take the next steps with the University. Translation of our fundamental research improves when our research community has direct relationships with innovative companies like Pharos Therapeutics,” she commented.

By combining cutting-edge technology, world-class expertise, and collaborative innovation, this partnership is set to redefine the landscape of drug development, offering hope to patients battling cancer and rare diseases.

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