Roivant joins forces with Korea's iNtRON Bio to fight superbugs; Evotec inks deal to leverage AI to develop drugs
→ Antibiotic resistance is a problem of epidemic proportions that should arguably entice a swarm of R&D dollars, but these drugs command relatively cheap prices and don’t last as long as, say, cancer drugs, which has incentivized Big Pharma to focus their attention elsewhere. However, a handful of small and big names are keeping the R&D engine hot. Vivek Ramaswamy’s Roivant Sciences on Monday announced it was taking a punt on Korean biotech iNtRON Bio, with a $667.5 million licensing agreement for SAL200, an experimental biologic for infectious diseases caused by antibiotic-resistant staphylococci. Roivant plans to initiate a Phase II trial testing the drug next year.
→ For years now, pharmaceutical companies have looked to harness the power the power of artificial intelligence to identify drug candidates and conduct research. Germany’s Evotec on Wednesday said it had tied up with Cambridge, MA-based Immuneering to discover small molecules for rare hereditary metabolic diseases. Immuneering’s drug discovery platform makes pharma R&D faster and more effective, using AI and other advanced algorithms.
→ OMass Therapeutics, which was spun out of Oxford in 2016, has secured £14 million in a Series A round of funding led by Syncona, the life sciences investment arm of the Wellcome Trust that has also invested in another Oxford spinout called Nightstar Therapeutics. OMass uses mass spectrometry platforms to discover and develop therapeutics.