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HKSTP Company Partners for Drug Discovery R&D

Image Credits: HKSTP, Press Release

A clinical-stage artificial intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery company under the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation announced a multi-year, multi-target strategic research collaboration with a French multinational pharmaceutical and healthcare company.

Under the terms of the agreement, the collaboration will leverage the AI firm’s AI platform, Pharma.AI, to advance drug development candidates for up to six new targets.

Under the terms of the agreement, the pharma will pay the AI firm a total of up to HK$21.5 million covering the upfront and target nomination fees to benefit from the AI firm’s end-to-end Pharma.AI platform and gain access to a team of interdisciplinary drug discovery scientists to identify, synthesise, and advance high-quality lead therapeutic compounds up to development candidate stage.

Additional payments will be made if key research, development, and sales milestones are met, and could total up to HK$1.2 billion. The collaboration also establishes mid-single to up to low double-digit tiered royalties for any products developed.

The Head of China Research at the multinational pharmaceutical and healthcare company stated that they look forward to collaborating with the demonstrated leader in AI-powered drug discovery. The collaboration will leverage the parties’ complementary capabilities, as well as the co-location of their scientific teams, to boost the drug discovery efforts of the Sanofi Institute for Biomedical Research (SIBR), the pharma’s R&D centre in China.

Meanwhile, the CEO and founder of the AI firm stated that the close collaboration will allow the pharma to immediately gain the capabilities of one of the top AI start-ups in addition to enriching their drug discovery pipeline.

Leveraging the multinational pharmaceutical and healthcare company’s strong drug research and development expertise and the tech firm’s powerful AI platform, it is believed that novel therapeutics discovery can be accelerated to address diseases with unmet medical needs, the co-CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of the AI firm stated. He added that, together, the two will employ innovative AI technologies to make significant breakthroughs in drug R&D.

The CEO of HKSTP stated that for the Park and for the city, this is inspiring and helps realise the vision of seeing Hong Kong emerge as a leading biomedical technology hub to propel world-class innovation and success.

He said it was exciting to see the biotech firm’s rapid growth since its establishment of R&D headquarters at Science Park in 2019. The AI-driven drug discovery company is headquartered at the Hong Kong Science Park, which is home to several leading AI and biotechnology companies and R&D centres.

Recent research found that the global drug discovery market size was valued at US$ 74.96 billion in 2021 and is expected to be worth around US$161.76 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 8.9% from 2021 to 2030.

This market is driven, in large part, by the growing prevalence of various chronic diseases, rising healthcare expenditure, and patent expiration of certain popular drugs across the globe. The current global population is challenged by a variety of diseases including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, respiratory diseases, and neurological disorders, which is significantly fuelling the demand for new and innovative drugs.

The pharmaceutical industry’s exponential growth can be attributed to the rapid growth of biopharmaceuticals is expected to drive the drug discovery market in the forthcoming years. The biopharmaceutical industry is growing at a rapid pace owing to the rising investments by the government and corporate for the development of new medicines to treat chronic diseases. Moreover, favourable government regulations coupled with the active role of the authorities are fuelling market growth.

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