Press Release

Gyeonggi Provincial Government Back Innovative Drug Discovery Collaborations between IPK and Regional Pharmaceutical/Biotech Companies


-Accelerating discovery of novel drug compounds by combining IPK’s research capabilities with pharmaceutical and biotech companies’ technologies

-3 year investment in joint research projects on liver cancer, hepatitis B virus, antibiotic resistance, influenza and leishmaniasis
Pangyo, Gyeonggi, 29 Sept, 2016 | On 28 Sept, 2016, Gyeonggi Provincial Government · Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) · Samjin Pharm · J2H Biotech · Kainos Medicine · ST Pharm · Pharos I&BT signed a mutual cooperation agreement for the [IPK-Pharma-Biotech Drug Discovery Joint Research Project]. These joint research projects between IPK and the other Gyeonggi based organizations will take place over the next three years and investigate five diseases – Samjin Pharma/IPK - liver cancer, J2H Biotech/IPK - antibiotic resistance/TB, Kainos Medicine/IPK - hepatitis B virus, ST Pharm/IPK – influenza, and Pharos I&BT/IPK – leishmaniasis - with the goal to discover novel treatments for each disease.

Supported by the Gyeonggi Provincial Government, the [IPK-Pharma-Biotech Drug Discovery Joint Research Project] encourages mutual cooperation between Gyeonggi-based pharmaceutical and biotech companies in order to take advantage of scientific talent, networks and resources, ultimately enhancing and promoting the local drug discovery industry. The project also serves as a case for the provincial governor, KyungPil Nam’s sharing economy model; IPK’s platform, research capability and infrastructure, which the central government and provincial government invested in, is shared with companies and research institutes in order to generate added economic value.
Over the next three years, Gyeonggi Provincial Government will offer financial support of 4.5 billion KRW total.  Each selected company will also invest into the research and IPK will provide basic science capabilities and screening technology.

#     #     #     #
About the 5 diseases
Liver Cancer
Despite liver cancer being the sixth most frequent cancer globally, and the second leading cause of cancer death, it has been difficult to develop targeted therapies. Liver cancer drugs have a low rate of success in clinical trials because the external environment is an important factor in the growth and spread of the cancers. Samjin Pharm’s compound optimization technology and IPK’s Phenomic (3D) screening technology will be used together to conduct basic research to discover drug candidates with the potential to be a first-in-class liver cancer drug.
Antibiotic Resistance/ TB
While the evolution of resistant strains is a natural phenomenon, the speed and spread of drug-resistant strains is a serious worldwide public health concern. Rapidly increasing antibiotic resistant bacteria so called Superbugs make once-treatable infections become difficult or impossible to cure with currently available antibiotics. Also, multi-drug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) are spreading globally. Scientists have warned the world is on the cusp of a ‘post-antibiotic era’ and society is in great need for new antibacterial drugs. The collaboration combines J2H Biotech’s drug design and synthesis technology and IPK’s basic science research capabilities and screening technology to discover novel small-molecule antibacterial agents effective against superbugs like M. tuberculosis, S. aureus, and P. aeruginosa.
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)
According to the WHO, HBV is a major global health problem with an estimated 240 million people chronically infected. The virus can cause a chronic, potentially life-threatening liver infection and is responsible for up to 70% of all liver cancer worldwide, making it the most common reason for liver transplants. Today, Korea’s prevalence rate stands at 3.2% (male) and 2.7% (female) (according to KCDC and MOHW, 2014), with males between the ages of 30-50 and the elderly having the highest prevalence rate. Diagnosis, optimal therapy, and cost-effective surveillance strategies are still required for the middle-aged and elderly Koreans. Although there are antiviral therapies available current treatments do not cure chronic hepatitis B, just manage the disease. Continuous, long-term treatment is required but that increases the likelihood of viral drug resistance. The collaboration combines IPK’s basic science research capabilities and cell-based screening technology and Kainos Medicine‘s Medical Chemistry optimization expertise to discover novel small-molecules effective against HBV.
Seasonal influenza is an acute viral infection that spreads easily from person to person. According to the WHO, influenza occurs globally with an annual attack rate estimated at 5%–10% in adults and 20%–30% in children. Yearly influenza epidemics can cause serious health problems, especially for children under the age of 2 and adults 65 and over, and negatively affect the economy by reducing workforce productivity and straining health services. The collaboration combines IPK’s basic science research capabilities and cell-based screening technology with ST Pharm‘s virtual Open Innovative Virtual (OIV) R&D strategy in order to discover novel influenza virus entry inhibitors with the potential to prevent or control the spread of influenza by blocking the initial entry step of viral life cycle.
Leishmaniasis is caused by parasitic protozoa of the genus Leishmania. Humans are infected via the bite of certain types of sandflies. The disease affects some of the most resource poor people on earth, and is associated with malnutrition, population displacement, poor housing, a weak immune system and lack of financial resources. According to the WHO, globally 350 million people are threatened by leishmaniasis. An estimated 900,000–1.3 million new cases are reported yearly and 20,000-30,000 deaths occur annually. Leishmaniasis is a treatable and curable disease with existing therapies, however there is huge room for improvement due to lack of accessibility and toxicity of available medicines. The collaboration combines IPK’s basic science research capabilities and cell-based screening technology with Pharos’s low-cost and high-efficiency drug discovery technology which forecasts various drug toxicity using artificial intelligence (AI) technology to discover small molecules to treat leishmaniasis.
#   #   #   #   #   #

About Institut Pasteur Korea
Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) is an international research institute focused on addressing global health issues with a combination of cutting edge approaches in order to understand disease mechanisms and develop new treatments. By promoting multi-disciplinary projects, IPK is at the forefront of drug discovery and an economic growth engine that contributes to Korea’s scientific intellectual and technical resources. IPK has four core missions of public interest – 1) Research, combining front line biology, IT, and chemistry, with innovative cell-based drug discovery platforms that identify novel molecular targets for potential new therapies to treat diseases, 2) Education, offering a wide range of programming to nurture the development of the next generation of scientists and health professionals, 3) Public Health, working in collaboration with national and international health authorities, and 4) Translation of biomedical discoveries to improve health via technology transfer and industrial partnerships.
IPK is a member of the Institut Pasteur International Network (Network). As a hub institution, IPK plays a key role in the Network, serving as a bridge between Korea and global bio-pharma science, expanding Korea’s R&D base collaborative research projects with global alliances
The institute was established in April 2004 in collaboration with Institut Pasteur Paris and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), with support from the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP). IPK also has a great supporter in the Gyeonggi Provincial government (2005 – 2015 : Block funding | 2016 – Present : drug discovery co-resarch fund for pharm industries).
For more information on Institut Pasteur Korea, visit us at