This week in drug discovery (19 – 23 July)

News round-up by DDW’s Megan Thomas for 19 – 23 July

DDW’s Megan Thomas rounds up her top five stories this week which facilitate the continuation of vital drug discovery research, from partnerships and funding to successful trials and informative reports.

  1. Exscientia accelerates Covid-19 drug discovery using AI

Exscientia has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gates Philanthropy Partners, as part of the Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator initiative, to progress a new class of Covid-19 therapeutics created using its artificial intelligence (AI) drug design platform.

  1. Genomics analysis on why Covid-19 affects people so differently

Last year scientists from around the world undertook genetic analysis to uncover the genetic factors influencing why some Covid-19 patients develop severe, life-threatening disease requiring hospitalisation, while others escape with mild symptoms or none at all. A comprehensive summary of their findings to date, published in Nature, reveals 13 loci, or locations in the human genome, that are strongly associated with infection or severe Covid-19.

  1. £54 million project benefits pre-clinical discovery CRO

Loughborough’s life sciences hub Charnwood Campus in the UK has recommissioned its synthetic and chemistry research facility to cater to the needs of pre-clinical discovery contract research organisation (CRO) Charnwood Molecular. It will cost £54 million.

  1. Lonza and CN Bio hepatocyte distribution agreement

Lonza and CN Bio have entered into a distribution agreement where Lonza will supply a selection of hepatic cells to be prequalified by CN Bio for use in its PhysioMimix Single-and Multi-Organ MPS. The aim is to change the way human-relevant pre-clinical data is generated.

  1. FDA Fast Track designation for Parkinson’s Disease treatment

BlueRock Therapeutics has been granted Fast Track designation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for DA01 for advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD). DA01, BlueRock’s pluripotent stem cell-derived dopaminergic neuron therapy, is under evaluation in a Phase I study.

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