Updated on 28 January 2015
Dr Subir K Basak, president, Drug Discovery Services, Jubilant Life Sciences
Singapore: The trend in Drug Discovery sector will be soft with more or less all the major pharmaceuticals declaring their interests in late stage pipeline molecules. Biologics discovery is gaining momentum with several deals being signed for proprietary technology platforms and the major/mid biotech/pharmas allocating a good amount of their budget in this area. We are also observing an increase in collaborations between academics and pharma companies and the academics are increasingly becoming the third key element in the drug discovery sector.
According to an industry report, the drug discovery outsourcing market for the current year is about $11.25 billion and is expected to grow upto $25 billion by 2019. Having said that, the biologics discovery is gaining importance in par with small molecules and is growing at a phenomenal rate. In short, drug discovery outsourcing sector will be highly competitive with increasing academic collaborations in drug discovery area and big pharma focusing more on late stage drug candidates.
Both Jubilant Biosys and Jubilant Chemsys, wholly owned subsidiaries of Jubilant Life Sciences engaged in drug discovery and research services, and are regularly conducting several collaborative and integrated drug discovery programs. The collaborative or partnership model is an integrated discovery program across single or a portfolio of molecules. 2014 was an exciting year wherein we expanded our existing collaborations and signed new discovery deals with large, mid cap and start-up virtual pharmas spanning across multiple therapeutic areas. The scientific community has been very dedicated and have achieved milestones, differentiated outcomes in various difficult discovery programs.
Below are some highlights of the deals signed in the year 2014:
• Jubilant Biosys and Orion Corporation, the largest pharmaceutical company in Finland, announced a drug discovery collaboration to discover small molecule inhibitors in the neuroscience therapeutic area.
• Jubilant Biosys also announced the expansion of Drug Discovery alliance with Janssen Pharmaceutica aimed to deliver preclinical candidates to Janssen across multiple therapeutic areas.
• Jubilant Chemsys, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Jubilant Life Sciences, and one of the most recognized drug discovery research services organizations from Asia announced the extension of its collaborative partnership with Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) for TB drug discovery.
Moving ahead, in the drug discovery space, we look forward to expanding our customer base and build long term partnerships so that we become our clients' offshore destination for innovation. We aim to strengthen our therapeutic area expertise by incremental investments into certain identified research areas and will continue investment on technologies to cater to the needs of biotech/pharma. We will be focusing on midcap/start-ups & virtual pharmas and with the already established set-up we look to on-board few more discovery programs to build a balanced portfolio with a combination of large/midcap/start-ups and virtual pharmas.
With well enabled capabilities in Oncology, Metabolic Disorders, CNS, Pain, Inflammation, Fibrosis and Respiratory diseases, Jubilant has emerged as a leading collaborator for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies worldwide. We aim to continue investing in translational research area for Target Identification/Target Validation (TI/TV) which is also becoming an integral part of drug discovery research. Our focus areas in 2015 will be: antibody drug conjugates to leverage on the growing demand for biologics discovery, strengthening our therapeutic area specific disease biology by incrementally investing in in-vivo models and exploring the possibilities to acquire new technologies with incremental investments or partnerships. We have also identified some thrust areas in discovery chemistry where we have already started investing and will continue our investment in these areas to strengthen our discovery chemistry.
The pharma industry is experiencing pressure to cut down the cost of drug discovery and development due to spiralling healthcare costs and companies are looking for good strategic partners to address the increasing R&D cost. R&D cost v/s low productivity v/s shorter timelines are the daunting hurdles of pharma industry and to address this they are shifting focus from blockbuster drugs to rare & orphan diseases and specific target mutants to steady their pipeline. Pharma companies recent area of focus is the genetic linkage to diseases (as a drug that fails in Caucasian population might work in Asian population) and also in personalized medicine.
We can see some moderate growth in small molecule drug discovery outsourcing market. It will be highly competitive for small molecule drug discovery with increasing academic collaborations and biologics discovery occupying its space in R&D budget. Trends such as acquisition & partnerships on new technologies, investment in research areas like TI/ TV, and demand trends for biologics will provide positive outlook to the drug discovery sector.