Accelerating drug discovery in Singapore creates global successes

October 13, 2014 ctheodoropulos

Building on a string of recent successes, a team from Singapore’s Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC) arrives in Frankfurt for BIO-Europe® 2014 looking for new opportunities in early stage co-discovery projects

According to Dr. Alex Matter, CEO of ETC and its sister institute, D3,  his colleagues at BIO-Europe will also be interested in meeting with innovators developing novel targets in the areas of oncology and infectious diseases.

Dr. Alex Matter, CEO of ETC

Dr. Alex Matter, CEO of ETC

Established in 2007 as a center of excellence to advance and accelerate drug discovery in Singapore, ETC is an integral part of a tight-knit drug research community centered on the Biopolis campus, home to more than 2,500 scientists among the research institutes, pharmaceutical and biotech companies co-located there and in close proximity to universities and major healthcare institutions.

ETC has established a track record of successful collaborations with leading industry players, including most recently Cytos, Novartis, AstraZeneca and Debiopharm.

Using Switzerland-based Cytos’ virus-like particle technology, ETC and D3 successfully brought an H1N1 flu vaccine into Phase 1 clinical trial. The result of this multi-institutional effort opened the door to a novel, easy-to-use and safe technology in the field of flu vaccines and triggered other follow-on projects.

AstraZeneca and ETC have been collaborating for a year and a half on a joint research project to develop new drugs to treat Gram-negative bacterial infections, with ETC contributing expertise in the discovery and optimization of lead compounds, and AstraZeneca providing expertise in antimicrobial drug discovery.

ETC holds an exclusive collaboration agreement with the Debiopharm Group to develop oral small molecules targeting a new class of epigenetic modulators where ETC will co-finance the discovery phase of the project and Debiopharm will be responsible for downstream development.

“Two other success stories for the Centre are the fruit of a multi-year collaboration with two separate academic groups, both at Duke-NUS in Singapore,” said Matter. “One project concerns a novel target occurring in various solid cancers, the other a particular target in a subtype of late-stage leukemia.”

One of the few fully integrated drug discovery organizations in Asia, the primary mission of ETC/D3 is to guide early stage scientific discoveries towards proof-of-concept in man and translate scientific discoveries into diagnostics and research tools in order to serve unmet medical needs.

The Centre possesses a full complement of capabilities across all phases of drug discovery with half of its research manpower dedicated to biochemistry, cell biology and analytics while the other half is dedicated to medicinal chemistry and computational chemistry.

ETC as well as D3 are publicly funded research organizations, part of Singapore’s long-term commitment to continually develop and advance the biomedical sciences industry.  The critical role ETC and D3 are playing within Singapore’s drug discovery ecosystem is to act as an interface between the scientific community and the life sciences industry, ultimately helping to enable the commercialization of new discoveries in Singapore.


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