Bioanalysis Zone

Development of biopharmaceuticals to be advanced in university and industry partnership


York University (Ontario, Canada) recently announced a partnership between their researchers and three leading Canadian pharmaceutical companies to help advance the development of biopharmaceuticals.

The partnership has received more than $1.7 million to facilitate advancement of drug development.

Biopharmaceuticals are medical drugs produced utilizing biotechnology. The sector is increasingly gaining a foothold in the pharmaceutical industry and becoming ever more important.

However, the current strategies employed have hindered their development. Technological restrictions and the molecular complexity of biopharmaceuticals have restricted availability of decisive details including features of drug–target complex.

The lack of important information often deters companies from progressing onto the next stage of testing for potential candidate drugs, thus delaying drug development.

“We will develop a platform to rapidly determine detailed information about biologic drug candidates, including the nature of these molecules and specifically how they interact with their targets,” commented Derek Wilson project leader and director of the Centre for Research in Mass Spectrometry (York University, Canada).

The collaboration will gather the very best expertise from both the academic and industry sectors. Derek Wilson along with colleagues from York University, Sergey Krylov and Chun Peng, have between them the bioanalytical and research expertise.

Wilson and Krylov previously developed mass spectrometry and electrophoresis technologies that will form the foundation of this new collaborative work. While Peng will contribute her proficiency in microRNA, which serves as an appealing drug target.

The joint force led to the launch of the ‘Technology-Enhanced Biopharmaceuticals Development and Manufacturing’ initiative. The main objective of the programme is to improve early-stage tests of potential candidate drugs.

“Creating such a platform will allow pharmaceutical companies to greatly accelerate and improve the quality of their drug discovery and development processes, making it easier to bring much needed drugs to market,” added Wilson.

Industrial partners will complement the researchers’ expertise by providing world leading technologies and systems. Sciex will contribute its mass spectrometry technology and Fluidigm will supply a mass cytometer in the form of its unique CyTOF technology. Sanofi will share their drug development systems.

The collaboration is hoped to help improve academic and industry links, particularly for graduate students and post-docs in addition to facilitating a growing biopharmaceutical industry.

“The project will enhance York’s research profile in biopharmaceuticals development and manufacturing and provide an exceptional, industry-linked training environment for graduate students and post-docs,” said Robert Haché, York’s Vice-President Research & Innovation. “In addition, the technology and training that will emerge from this collaboration will meet the needs of the growing Canadian biopharmaceuticals industry.”

Source: York scientists partner with industry on $1.7 M grant for drug development


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