FOSTER CITY, Calif.—A new collaboration aimed at reducing risks and costs of drug discovery and development combines in silico disease models from Entelos Inc., with the India-based labs of Jubilant Biosys Ltd. The companies plan to pair new technology with new economic models to discover and develop a portfolio of compounds, while simultaneously offering integrated, joint services to pharma and biotech companies.
An underlying objective of the collaboration, says James Karis, president and CEO of Entelos, is to "start to fundamentally help address major issues facing research and development. It's a high-cost endeavor, getting more and more expensive. The failures are a big contributor to that cost."
Entelos' PhysioLab mathematical models and virtual patient models, which evaluate areas like drug targets, dosing and safety for disease states including asthma, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease, can accelerate timelines and lower costs through better predictive capabilities, believes Karis. Lowering costs could mean broader exploration.
Perhaps the clearest example of how the Entelos and Jubilant pairing can assist researchers, says Karis, is by providing Jubilant's services for wet lab confirmation of what Entelos models discover in silico. "We both get the same projects…theirs are wet lab and clinical, and ours are in computers," says Karis, adding that the companies can also assist with translational medicine. Beyond the comfort of sharing business goals and customers with Jubilant, Karis says changes in Indian intellectual property law make him feel secure working there.
Sridhar Mosur, CEO and president of Jubilant Biosys, hopes the companies' agreement will last many years. "Basically, we expect it to last for a lifetime. We don't want to stop if it makes a lot of sense to the market and provides a lot of support to drug discovery and development." Mosur says integrated repositioning services will be one of the first joint offerings, with the program going live late in the second quarter. Details of the financial considerations of the open arrangement were not released, though the companies will share revenues.
Jubilant, says Mosur, employs around 1,070 scientists who serve global customers from early discovery through clinical trials and small molecule manufacturing. The core discovery group of 450, based in Bangalore and Delhi, incorporates molecular modeling, bioinformatics, protein crystallography, in vitro and in vivo techniques, among others. Teaming with Entelos felt natural, says Mosur. "We realized that better technical partnerships allow us to bring a greater deal of value to our customers."
Existing customers will be the first targets for the combined services. "A known friend is always best," says Mosur, who also hopes the Entelos-Jubilant team can find successes and failures more quickly in an industry overwhelmed with good ideas, many of which fall to attrition.
Says Karis, "If we could offer our customers and new customers another option that addresses those issues of success, of failures, and economics, we think we have something special."
Karis notes that client companies struggling with cost questions can connect the dots to see why Entelos and Jubilant can team up for savings. In the end, he says, "it's a complicated process, discovery and developing drugs. We just felt you had to start doing something bigger and on a grander scale to address this issue."