Thursday, April 18, 2019
SK Biopharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical company focused on disorders of central nervous system and cancer, and twoXAR, Inc., an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven biopharmaceutical company, today announced an agreement to discover and develop first-in-class therapeutics for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Under the agreement, twoXAR will use its AI discovery technology to identify a set of initial candidates with the potential to treat lung cancer through novel biological mechanisms of action. After screening, SK Biopharmaceuticals plans to use its internal AI Drug Design technology to optimize a lead candidate and then conduct IND-enabling studies. SK Biopharmaceuticals will retain exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize the drug candidate. twoXAR will receive an upfront payment and will be eligible for development and commercial milestone payments in addition to royalties.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths globally with a 5-year survival rate of less than 18%1. The two main types of lung cancer are small cell and non-small cell, accounting for 10-15% and 85% of all lung cancers, respectively. Treatment is based on the lung cancer stage and subtype, and generally consists of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of these treatments. However, the disease is known to become resistant to current lines of therapy. It is estimated that there were 2 million new lung cancer cases diagnosed worldwide in 20182.
“AI-powered approaches are pioneering new, more efficient ways to find promising new drug candidates and are enabling SK Biopharmaceuticals to build the next-generation pharmaceutical company,” said Cheol-Young Maeng, PhD, Vice President of Cancer Research at SK Biopharmaceuticals. “We are excited to combine twoXAR’s and SK Biopharmaceuticals’ technologies because of the potential to progress drug candidates from hypotheses to IND-enabling studies faster than ever before.”
“SK Biopharmaceuticals’ focus on powering end-to-end drug discovery and development by adopting new technologies to foster efficiencies makes them an ideal partner for twoXAR,” said Andrew A. Radin, Co-Founder and CEO of twoXAR. “As the leading cause of cancer death, lung cancer is a serious disease with high unmet need. We are pleased to be working with SK Biopharmaceuticals, who’s achieved remarkable success from discovery to filing for FDA approval, to combine our complementary platforms with a shared commitment to rapidly identify, validate, and develop novel treatments for lung cancer patients in need.”