Press Release

Institut Pasteur Korea and the Institut Pasteur (Paris) Established Pasteur Joint International Research Unit for development of next-generation technology for infectious disease therapeutic discovery

Institut Pasteur Korea and the Institut Pasteur (Paris) Established Pasteur Joint International Research Unit for the development of next-generation technology for infectious disease therapeutic discovery

May 21, 2021, Gyeonggi-do, Rep. of Korea ㅣ Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) and the Institut Pasteur (Paris) signed an agreement for the creation of a Pasteur Joint International Research Unit (PIU) titled: “Artificial intelligence for image-based drug discovery & development” (Ai3D).

A PIU is a “virtual unit” designed to pair a Pasteur unit with at least one international research team with complementary competencies and expertise to elaborate research programs on shared topics of interest and mobilize national and international funding to implement their shared research projects. Built around scientific projects selected for their quality, these research units facilitate scientific interactions and mobility, particularly for young researchers, and give greater visibility to the research teams involved. Since 2016, nine PIU have been created in collaboration with members of the Institut Pasteur International Network. The Ai3D PIU is one of the last three PIU to have been created following the call for PIU applications between the Institut Pasteur and the Network.

The PIU-Ai3D envisages combining the resources of IPK in image-based screening and of the Institut Pasteur in computational biology toward establishing research for next-generation drug discovery tools. 

The PIU-Ai3D will develop an innovative deep-learning technique utilizing the automated high-throughput screening assay and phenotypic analysis. Taking multiplexed approaches, the research team will use the image data generated from screening in conjunction with chemical/structural biology, bio-activity, transcriptomic, interactome, and metabolomics data to optimize screening. 

This approach, termed “molecular phenotyping,” will empower lead-optimization, and mechanism-of-action studies and also open new possibilities for enhanced screening of natural extracts. The initiative is expected to yield new tools and strategies for drug discovery in infectious diseases and will especially target questions related to anti-microbial resistance (AMR).
The co-leaders of the PIU-Ai3D, Dr. Spencer SHORTE, CSO of IPK, and Dr. Christophe ZIM-MER, Head of the Institut Pasteur Imaging and Modeling Unit part of the UMR CNRS 3691, agreed: “AMR paradigms are of major interest because of the common value to the whole Institut Pasteur International Network (IPIN), and we hope the tools developed through this collaboration will eventually benefit the IPIN and the global scientific communities as a resource open to all.” 

“Established on the scientific cooperation between Korea and France, IPK has facilitated various research opportunities with the Institut Pasteur and the IPIN. Working hand-in-hand with the scientists in Korea and the IPIN, we will converge domestic and international expertise and further advance IPK’s cutting-edge screening technology for accelerated development of new and effective therapeutics to treat infectious diseases threatening domestic and global public health,” said IPK CEO Dr. Youngmee JEE.

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Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) is a non-profit research institute established in 2004 based on the scientific collaboration of Korea and France with a focus on infectious diseases. IPK strives to address unmet global health issues by utilizing the core research capabilities, including cell-based screening platforms, to understand disease mechanisms and accelerate drug discovery. Facilitating translational research that bridges excellent basic research and the pharmaceutical industry of Korea and the world, IPK reinforces Korea’s R&D resources and contributes to global infectious disease preparedness and response. As an integral member of the Institut Pasteur International Network (IPIN), IPK plays a key role in driving early drug discovery within the network.
Institut Pasteur (Paris): Founded in 1887, the Institut Pasteur is a non-profit French foundation with the mission to contribute to the prevention and treatment of diseases, mainly infectious diseases, through research, teaching, public health and innovation actions. Institut Pasteur also relies on an international network gathering 33 members throughout the world, the Institut Pasteur International Network (IPIN).
Institut Pasteur International Network (IPIN) is represented by a French nonprofit association - which was founded in 2011 under the French law of 1901 governing associations - whose main purpose is to carry out and facilitate the development and implementation of large-scale scientific projects and initiatives, typically with the participation of several member entities of the IPIN, and possibly with the cooperation of other partners working in the same fields, the standing goal and intent being to contribute to the prevention and treatment of disease — primarily infectious diseases — through research, public health initiatives and education.