Press Release

Institut Pasteur Korea & Kainos Medicine Team Up to Discover a Novel Hepatitis B Virus Drug

Pangyo, Gyeonggi, 12 Sept, 2016 | Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) and Kainos Medicine announce their 2016 Drug Discovery project against hepatitis B virus (HBV). 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. Research kicked off in Aug 2016 and will take place over the next three years. The strategic partnership is part of a series of collaboration projects supported by the Gyeonggi Provincial Government.

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.
Dr. Marc Windisch, Group Leader, IPK Hepatitis Research Laboratory, says, “There are antiviral therapies available but 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. In order to keep a step ahead it is important to advance our understanding of HBV and explore new avenues for the development of innovative therapeutic agents. Consequently, IPK will collaborate with Kainos Medicine on the discovery of a Lead compound which potentially could cure the disease.”
Dr. Jaemoon Lee, Vice-president of Bio department, Kainos Medicine says, “A collaboration with IPK is a significant. Kainos Medicine has long term experiences on Medical Chemistry optimization and drug development so when we combine this expertise to IPK’s specialties - basic science research and biological experimental, I expect that we will reach the target to develop a novel HBV therapeutics.”
Dr. Roberto Bruzzone, IPK CEO, notes “Hepatitis B is a major international and national health problem with significant effects on public health and an economic burden. To control the spread and treatment of the disease, it is essential to find cost effective solution. IPK is delighted to work with Kainos Medicine to address this global problem.”
The collaboration between Kainos Medicine and IPK is supported by the Gyeonggi Provincial Government as part of the province’s mission to reinforce and invest in the research and development capabilities of Gyeonggi-based institutions.  In 2016, five projects will be selected to co-research with IPK. As of July 2016, three partners, including Kainos Medicine have been identified: Samjin Pharma/IPK and J2H Biotech/IPK. These chosen institutions will have access to IPK’s award-winning screening platform and skilled research specialists as well as financial support from the Gyeonggi Provincial Government.

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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-resarch fund for pharm industries).
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