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Our Success Story

First-in-Class Tuberculosis Drug Discovery

Institut Pasteur Korea has identified an innovative drug candidate, Q203, which has a novel mechanism of action and is highly effective against both multi-drug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB). Q203 has successfully advanced through preclinical testing.

Institut Pasteur Korea’s cell-based phenotypic screening technology, which utilizes a physiologically relevant cellular disease model, enabled the identification of chemical compounds that effectively killed TB in host macrophages and led to development of this first-in-class drug candidate. The results of this work were published in Nature Medicine in August 2013.

Q203 was licensed to Qurient Co. Ltd., a spin-off company of Institut Pasteur Korea. An IND submission was filed on this molecule in the US in 2014 for further development toward clinical evaluation.

Hepatitis C Drug Discovery

The well-developed Hepatitis C virus (HCV) program at Institut Pasteur Korea has delivered a highly active lead series that has a novel mechanism of action with therapeutic efficacy against HCV.

This molecule interferes with early (post attachment) step of the HCV life cycle by targeting E1. It inhibits infectivity of HCV particles without preventing particle formation or changing particle density. More importantly, this drug candidate prevents virus secretion and inhibits the cell-to-cell spread that is the major route of transmission in the liver.

The most advanced lead series has excellent overall properties, including accumulation to target organ, pico- to nano-molar activity against various genotypes (1, 2, 3, 4 & 7) and a good safety profile. Lead optimization is currently ongoing with support from the Korean Drug Discovery Fund. With good solubility and no sign of genotoxicity and cytotoxicity, this molecule is now ready for further development through licensing.

Establishment of Spin-off biotech, Qurient Co. Ltd.

Qurient is a spin-off biotechnology company of Institute Pasteur Korea dedicated to developing novel therapeutics from late discovery to human proof of concept.

The company was founded in July 2008. It licensed a novel TB drug candidate from Institute Pasteur Korea in March 2010. This novel drug candidate is expected to enter into clinical trials in 2015. Qurient positions itself as a ‘translational drug development company’ by in-licensing discovery programs and adding value by achieving solid proof-of-concept for commercializable drug candidates. Please visit Qurient at www.qurient.com for more information.

Phenomic Technologies

To create first-in-class drug candidates, Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) has developed next-generation drug discovery technology platforms, called ‘phenomic technologies’, which combine advances from the latest bio-imaging techniques with high throughput screening technologies. This approach enables the real-time observation and analysis of cellular disease models in a high throughput mode. Using phenomic technologies, IPK can also identify previously unknown target genes associated with diseases and find new compounds that can serve as leads for innovative drug discovery. For more details of IPK technologies, please visit our screening platform page.