Press Release

IPK Licenses Out a Hepatitis C Virus Drug Candidate to J2H Biotech

Pangyo, Gyeonggi, 31 Oct, 2016 | On 11 Oct, 2016, Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) and J2H Biotech signed an out-licensing agreement for a first-in-class hepatitis C virus (HCV) drug candidate.

In 2013, IPK screened small molecule compound libraries with the infectious HCV cell culture system to discover novel viral interventions. The project resulted in identifying a Thiophene Urea (TU) compound series. With financial support from the Korea Drug Development Fund, the TU small molecule series was refined further to be an optimized Lead, and final optimization was completed in 2015. TU inhibits HCV’s ability to enter into hepatocytes by targeting a viral protein, and it prevents the cell-to-cell spread of the virus, thereby inhibiting the major route of HCV transmission in the liver.
Dr. Marc Windisch, Group Leader, IPK Hepatitis Research Laboratory, says, “With the discovery of TU, we have a strong first-in-class HCV drug candidate that can be used in combinatorial therapy. Additionally, TU is ideal to prevent reinfection of graft in patients undergoing liver transplantation. I expect TU will help reduce the emergence of viral drug resistance, potentially minimize treatment periods, and ultimately reduce the cost of therapy.”
JaeSun Kim, Co-CEO, J2H, says, "Although HCV drug research has dramatically improved in recent years, there is still great unmet needs. IPK's HCV entry inhibitor will be an alternative way of satisfying the needs of many. And I expect there will be  synergy in combining it with HCV protease inhibitors."

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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-research fund for pharma industries).
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