Press Release

Institut Pasteur Korea & ST Pharm Team Up to Discover Novel Influenza Virus Entry Inhibitors

Pangyo, Gyeonggi, 26 Sept, 2016 | Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) and ST Pharm announce an anti-influenza Drug Discovery project. 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. 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.
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.
Dr. Ji-Young Min, Group Leader, IPK Respiratory Viruses Research Laboratory, says, “In 2009, when the pandemic H1N1 influenza threatened humanity, antiviral agents like Tamiflu helped save many people. But recently influenza resistant to Tamiflu has consistently emerged. In order to address this situation, a new target and novel antiviral agent needs to be discovered. Hence this influenza research collaboration with ST Pharm is very significant to prepare a novel seasonal influenza treatment to potentially prevent future emerging influenza pandemics.”
Dr. Kyungjin Kim, the Head of R&D Center, ST Pharm says, “We are excited to collaborate with IPK to develop novel therapeutics that can effectively inhibit the infection and replication of the Influenza virus. Our plan is to discover lead compounds and to investigate the mechanism of action as well as the efficacy and safety. Ultimately we look forward to obtaining preclinical candidates with excellent profile successfully through this collaboration”.
Dr. Roberto Bruzzone, IPK CEO, notes, “ While antivirals are available for treatment of influenza, the rapid and widespread emergence of resistance to approved drugs requires better, more in depth understanding of the mechanisms that leads to the diseased state for new discoveries. Given these considerable challenges, innovation and collaboration is key to pushing the frontiers of knowledge and test novel approaches to combating viral infections.”
The collaboration between ST Pharm 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 September 2016, five partners, including ST Pharm have been identified: Samjin Pharma/IPK, J2H Biotech/IPK, Kainos Medicine/IPK and Pharos I&BT/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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