Six collaborations driving drug discovery innovation

1. Amgen and NVIDIA

Amgen has announced plans to advance drug discovery using NVIDIA’s DGX SuperPOD-powered insights from human datasets.

The NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD will be installed at Amgen’s deCODE genetics’ headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland and will be used to build a human diversity atlas for drug target and disease-specific biomarker discovery.

“For more than a decade, Amgen has been preparing for this hinge moment we are seeing in the industry, powered by the union of technology and biotechnology,” said David Reese, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Amgen. “We look forward to combining the breadth and maturity of our human data capabilities at Amgen with NVIDIA’s technologies.”

2. Chiesi and Oak Hill Bio

Chiesi Group and Oak Hill Bio have entered a collaboration to develop OHB-607, a clinical-stage investigational drug candidate to treat complications of extremely premature birth.

OHB-607 is a recombinant version of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a key driver of foetal growth and development, and its binding protein, IGFBP-3. Babies born at less than 28 weeks gestational age have low levels of IGF-1 and face high risk of severe bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), which may lead to chronic lung disease.

Chiesi and Oak Hill Bio intend to continue a Phase IIb clinical trial in 2024 in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Clinical studies conducted to date have demonstrated OHB-607’s potential to significantly reduce the risk of severe BPD.

3. Evotec and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation

Evotec has joined forces with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, a non-profit organisation focused on research and patient support for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The foundation’s IBD Therapeutics Incubator programme facilitates collaboration between the foundation, academic researchers, and industry partners to translate  basic research into medical innovations for IBD patients.

The collaboration leverages Evotec’s R&D platform to advance drug discovery for two drug targets that address major unmet medical needs of patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Jennifer Swantek, Director of the Foundation’s IBD Therapeutics Incubator programme, said: “We’re eager to deliver much needed, differentiated therapies to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis patients as soon as possible.”

4. Lantheus and Perspective Therapeutics

Lantheus Holdings and Perspective Therapeutics have entered into multiple strategic agreements, including the purchase of up to 19.9% of Perspective’s shares for up to $33 million.

For an additional $28 million, Lantheus has obtained an option to exclusively license Perspective’s neuroendocrine tumours treatment Pb212-VMT-⍺-NET, or to co-develop certain early stage therapeutic candidates targeting prostate cancer.

Perspective will also acquire the assets and associated lease of Lantheus’ radiopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Somerset, New Jersey.

“These strategic transactions will expand our pipeline and create a pathway for impactful advancements in neuroendocrine tumours and prostate cancer,” said Mary Anne Heino, Chief Executive Officer of Lantheus.

5. Evotec and Owkin

In another strategic collaboration, Evotec has agreed an AI-powered integrated multi-target collaboration in oncology, immunology and inflammation with techbio Owkin.

Owkin will identify indication-relevant targets and subgroups using AI applied to multimodal patient data. Evotec will leverage its shared R&D platform to accelerate and de-risk the validation of targets, identification of drug candidates and successful completion of pre-clinical development activities up to IND.

Dr Matthias Evers, Chief Business Officer of Evotec, commented: “Owkin and Evotec both feel there is something special brewing by convergence between AI and science in drug innovation – hence, we are thrilled to strike this partnership towards accelerating therapeutics in therapeutic areas of highest unmet needs – patients need us, together.”

6. VantAI and Blueprint Medicines

VantAI and Blueprint Medicines have entered into an amended and restated collaboration and license agreement to design and advance novel targeted protein degrader therapies to address important areas of medical need.

The agreement expands the collaboration initiated in February 2022 to include an additional target programme and names VantAI and Blueprint Medicines as the exclusive partners.

The partnership aims to challenge what is possible in Induced Proximity drug discovery, pursuing targets and molecular mechanisms that have traditionally been considered undruggable with traditional small molecule or biological therapeutics.

Under the amended agreement, VantAI will be eligible to receive up to $1.25 billion in contingent milestone payments for three target programmes.

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