A Fast-Moving Virus Pits Treating Patients Against Finding a Cure

The frenzied hunt for drugs to ease Covid-19 could make it more difficult for scientists to find lasting treatments. Pharmaceutical-research experts are raising concerns that attempts to offer desperate coronavirus patients some form of treatment may hobble crucial studies of which drugs actually work and which ones don't. More than 100 off-the-shelf and experimental therapies are being tested either formally or informally for the coronavirus disease, including hydroxychloroquine, the antimalarial touted as a treatment by President Donald Trump, and remdesivir, an experimental drug from biotechnology company Gilead Sciences Inc. There are so many even coronavirus experts can barely keep track. The huge field of potential treatments represents a mobilization of medical science that has few historical parallels. But with tens of thousands of patients in the U.S. hospitalized and no proven drugs to treat them, the crisis has exacerbated an always-present tension in the parallel worlds of caring for patients and looking for new therapies: that what might seem best for an individual patient can undercut a research effort that will benefit the greater public good.

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PHARMA TECH

AION Labs Welcomes Amiti as Strategic Partner to Accelerate Israel's Position as a Leading Hub for Transformative AI-Powered Drug Discovery Innovation

PR Newswire | January 09, 2024

AION Labs, the first-of-its-kind venture studio spearheading the adoption of AI technologies and computational science to solve therapeutic challenges, announced today a new strategic partnership with Amiti Ventures, one of the leading early-stage venture capital firms in Israel. The partnership further strengthens the alliance of global leaders in pharma, biotech, and technology investment, expanding its offering as a venture studio and partner for new startups. "With a proven track record of identifying the best teams for the mission and investing early in the most innovative deep tech startups that shape the future, Amiti Ventures will bring important complementary capabilities and expert investor knowledge to the AION Labs partnership," said Mati Gill, CEO of AION Labs. "We thank Amiti for its vote of confidence in our model of innovation for groundbreaking AI and computational biotech ventures. We further appreciate Amiti's recognition that Israel's ecosystem is poised to lead the world in bringing AI and biotech together to solve our biggest drug discovery challenges." By joining forces with Amiti, AION Labs is enhancing its expertise and capabilities in the deep tech and computational technology domains, areas that are critical to the success of biotech innovation. Amiti's extensive experience and track record in these fields will bring invaluable investor knowledge and insights to AION Labs, enabling it to more effectively develop and support early-stage startups focused on AI and computational biology. Amiti's first investment in the venture studio will entail investment in DenovAI Biotech's Seed round of funding. Launched in 2022, DenovAI is developing an AI-powered biophysics solution for de novo antibody and protein design. AION Labs builds and invests in early-stage startup teams focused on AI and computational biology in drug discovery and development, offering them top-notch resources and mentorship while working closely with them to develop new technologies that meet the most significant challenges in the pharmaceutical industry. The partnership with Amiti Ventures will help AION Labs to advance healthcare towards patient-centric precision medicine and create a significant contribution to the health and well-being of humankind by helping to bring new treatments to market faster and more efficiently. "We believe that AION Labs is uniquely positioned to identify the biggest challenges to accelerate drug discovery and development and then evaluate the best computational bio approaches and entrepreneurs," said Ben Rabinowitz, Founder and Managing Partner of Amiti Ventures. "AION Labs' venture studio model bridges the gap between outstanding academic research, huge leaps forward in generative AI, and the biggest challenges and opportunities in the development of new medicines, and we look forward to working closely with our new partners to make this a reality. "We also have been amazed by the can-do spirit of the AION Labs team," added Rabinowitz. "It is that readiness to create, pull themselves up by the bootstraps and forge ahead with amazing innovation that makes AION and Israel's entire startup ecosystem so special." About AION Labs AION Labs is a first-of-its-kind alliance of Astrazeneca, Merck, Pfizer, Teva, the Israel Biotech Fund, Amiti Ventures, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), powered by BioMed X with the support of the Israeli Government via the Israel Innovation Authority, that have come together with one clear mission: to create and adopt groundbreaking new AI technologies that will transform the process of drug discovery and development in order to contribute to the health and well-being of all people world-wide. AION Labs is a unique venture hub where brilliant innovators and scientist-founders convene from around the world to solve the biggest R&D challenges guided by years of accumulated know-how, data and experience in pharma. The lab leverages its partners' wealth of knowledge and a new multidisciplinary mindset with the ingenuity, agility and innovative power of Israel's startup ecosystem, to develop strong companies with clear long-term strategies, that will pave the way to the future of healthcare. AION Labs cultivates innovation from within; its unique venture creation process bridges the gap between outstanding academic research in the field of AI and the biggest R&D needs in the discovery and development of new medicines for the benefit of patients.

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PHARMA TECH

SHL Medical partners with SteriPack Group to set up final assembly service

PR Newswire | January 25, 2024

SHL Medical, a world-leading solutions provider of advanced drug delivery systems and SteriPack Group, renowned global supplier of secondary packing and final assembly services to the pharmaceutical industry, enter a non-exclusive strategic partnership. Together, they aim to establish a pre-validated final assembly service at the SteriPack facility in Poland, enhancing the overall flexibility of supply chain strategies for their customers. In addition to SHL Medical's existing final assembly, labeling, and packaging¬ services in the United States, this collaboration extends high-quality CMO options to Europe. Markus Puusepp, SHL Medical's Chief Growth Officer, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating "This partnership is a significant addition to the Molly platform value proposition. We share common values with SteriPack, from focus on the customer to a commitment to quality, making the decision to collaborate straightforward." Recognizing the importance of flexibility and time-to-market, especially in clinical production, the partnership with SteriPack will offer SHL Medical's customers highly flexible and personalized final assembly and packaging solutions. This is particularly beneficial for small batch handling in clinical supply and niche markets like rare diseases. Emphasizing the comprehensive capabilities of the Molly platform, SHL Medical aims to deliver right-sized solutions that ensure improved service, faster timelines, and a more streamlined supply chain for its diverse customer base. John Ward, SteriPack Group's VP Pharmaceutical Solutions commented "SteriPack Group looks forward to supporting SHL Medical and their customers in providing quality and flexible solutions to a fast- moving market. With an emphasis on creating service solutions designed around specific customer requirements, this partnership will make the process of working with the Molly platform an easy decision." About SHL Medical As a world-leading solutions provider of advanced drug delivery systems, SHL Medical is the partner of choice for many leading pharma and biotech companies. Driven by its company purpose – Enabling Patients' Independence – SHL Medical offers patient-centric solutions for the design, development, and manufacturing of autoinjectors, pen injectors, as well as innovative specialty delivery systems for large-volume and high-viscosity formulations. It also offers final assembly, labeling, and packaging solutions for its drug delivery systems. In response to the rising trend in home therapy, SHL Medical has increased its developmental work in the digital healthcare sector to help improve the drug delivery ecosystem. Located across Switzerland, Taiwan, Sweden, and the US, SHL Medical's global team of experts collaborate seamlessly as one team in utilizing its comprehensive in-house manufacturing capabilities. Its solutions offer customization and optimization for each project while proactively weaving sustainability-driven measures into its designs and processes to contribute to a cleaner earth. About SteriPack Group SteriPack Group is a globally renowned contract packing and manufacturing organisation serving the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors respectively. With a strong emphasis on innovation, quality and compliance, SteriPack's services to the pharmaceutical industry include device design and development, final assembly, labelling, secondary packing, serialisation and aggregation of injectable formats including vials, pre-filled syringes, and autoinjectors. SteriPack's tailored customer-focused solutions make it an ideally suited supplier for small to medium-sized batch volumes required for a growing market of targeted therapies as well as clinical trials. Its proven capabilities in cleanroom assembly and labelling as well as secondary packing services for drug delivery systems and medical devices, combined with significant investment into growing cold chain storage capacity, have helped to make it a trusted partner to top global pharmaceutical companies.

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RESEARCH

ISOMORPHIC LABS ANNOUNCES STRATEGIC MULTI-TARGET RESEARCH COLLABORATION WITH LILLY

PR Newswire | January 08, 2024

Isomorphic Labs, a digital biology company with a mission to redefine drug discovery using the power of artificial intelligence, today announced that it has entered into a strategic research collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company. This marks Isomorphic Labs' first pharmaceutical partnership. Under the terms of the agreement, Isomorphic Labs will partner with Lilly to discover small molecule therapeutics against multiple targets and will receive an upfront cash payment of $45 million. Isomorphic Labs is eligible to receive up to $1.7 billion in performance-based milestone payments, excluding the upfront payment and any subsequent tiered royalties of up to low double digits on net sales. "We're thrilled to embark on this partnership and apply our proprietary technology platform, the next generation of AlphaFold, and access to massive computing power to Lilly's development programs," said Demis Hassabis, CEO and founder of Isomorphic Labs. "The focus we share on advancing groundbreaking drug design approaches and appreciation of state-of-the-art science makes this partnership particularly compelling." Isomorphic Labs operates autonomously within Alphabet, with its own dedicated resources and exclusive focus on the application of AI to drug discovery. The company is reimagining the entire drug discovery process from first principles with an AI-first approach, working to build powerful new predictive and generative models of biological phenomena to anticipate how drugs will perform and design novel molecules. Building on the success of AlphaFold and working in collaboration with Google DeepMind, Isomorphic Labs has made remarkable progress in developing the Next Generation of AlphaFold. This new iteration of AlphaFold expands beyond proteins to include small molecules and nucleic acids. Through deep integration of this next generation AlphaFold with other breakthrough AI models developed at Isomorphic Labs, the company is able to better understand the underlying biological mechanisms of drug targets, and rationally design novel therapeutics. ABOUT ISOMORPHIC LABS Isomorphic Labs is an autonomous subsidiary of Alphabet that was launched from Alphabet's DeepMind in 2021 to build on the success of AlphaFold, the company's groundbreaking work in protein folding. That work was heralded as the 'Breakthrough of the Year' by Science and 'Method of the Year' by Nature in 2021. Based in London and now with a second location in Lausanne, Switzerland, Isomorphic Labs was founded and is led by AI pioneer Demis Hassabis, who also co-founded and leads Google DeepMind. As pioneers in digital biology, the company's mission is to use AI to accelerate drug discovery and ultimately find cures for some of humanity's most devastating diseases. Using its AI-first approach to drug discovery and biology, the company's ambition is to advance a new era of medical breakthroughs.

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