BIOTEC and NOVARTIS Extends Drug Discovery Partnership
Bangkok, Thailand, 25 January 2012 – Since its inception in 2005, the BIOTEC-Novartis Partnership in Drug Discovery has proved to be a highly productive and successful collaboration. Building on this, the two organizations have recently finalized the extension of the partnership for a further three years until 2014. In this phase, the collaboration aims to investigate the potential of compounds produced by local microorganisms (natural products) as active ingredients for drugs.
The key to developing a modern drug is to search for a substance that will serve as an active principle for a specific therapeutic intervention. This substance can be man-made (a synthetic compound) or derived from living organisms (a natural compound). Natural compounds have an advantage over synthetic ones in that they often possess complex chemical structures that cannot be easily replicated artificially, which might serve as core structures for the synthesis of drug-like compounds with very specific activity to target.
Executives on both sides of the partnership share a strong belief in the value delivered by the collaboration.
Over the past six years of collaboration, as many as 7,200 microbial isolates and 115 pure compounds have been investigated. Many of the microorganisms have proven their ability to produce new compounds.
For the next three years, BIOTEC will be more involved in research through conducting in-country phenotypic pre-screens to detect anti-parasitic activity in microbial strains, before further investigation by Novartis. Training to be provided to Thai scientists will include natural product dereplication in active extracts from phenotypic screens, compound purification and anti-bacterial testing.
The National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), founded in 1983, is one of four technology centers under the auspices of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), an autonomous government agency. The Center is a leading research institute in Thailand and the region, with over 30 laboratories and 160 principal scientists conducting basic and applied research covering a wide spectrum from agricultural science to biomedical science and environmental science. BIOTEC has 5 research units located at Thailand Science Park and ten specialized laboratories situated in universities and government agencies across the country. More information about BIOTEC is available at http://www.biotec.or.th.
Novartis provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Focused solely on healthcare, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines, diagnostic tools and consumer health products. Novartis is the only company with leading positions in these areas. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 102,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world.
In Thailand, Novartis employs more than 500 people and offers a wide range of healthcare products across different segments, including innovative medicines, high-quality generics, animal health, self-medication and eye-care. Further information about Novartis is available at http://www.novartis.com
Posted on 26 January 2012