The biotechnological corporation BIOCAD has invested over 200 million rubles in creation of new R&D center in St. Petersburg area. The center includes eight modern laboratories in accordance with international standards and with a total area of 1500m2.
The main task of R&D center is to develop six chemical drugs against cancer and hepatitis C. Work is conducted within the framework of BIOCAD's new project – ChemNext, which was started in December, 2014.
There are six preparations at the stage candidates selection now: three – for hepatitis C treatment and three – for cancer therapy. One medicine against hepatitis C has already reached the optimization level. It means that scientists of BIOCAD have chosen only some tens of molecules from hundreds of thousands, and are now working on improvement of their properties. After a long period of experiments, one of them will become an innovative drug product capable of considerably increasing the efficiency of therapy for patients with hepatitis C in comparison with traditional treatment methods.
"Today, the level of access to state-of-the-art and highly effective preparations in Russia is significantly lower than in foreign countries.
The treatment costsare extremely high. As a result, patients can’t always fully complete the required basic and supporting therapy courses, and are compelled to stop their treatment. The solution to the problem is the implementation of the import substitution or localization program. However, it is important to not only develop domestic generics and hi-tech biosimilars but it is imperative to create innovative products in order to give Russian patients primary access to new generation drugs for a reasonable price. It is a key task, which our new R&D center in St. Petersburg is facing", – says the CEO of biotechnological company BIOCAD, Dmitry Morozov. BIOCAD applies modern structure-based drug design technology using computer modeling methods for the development of medicines.
Traditionallyin pharmaceutical world, molecules were selected by sorting out of the maximum number of casual candidates. BIOCAD makes this search result-oriented. The selected molecule is optimized for a concrete targetby the means of mathematical modeling and is then reproduced in an actual laboratory setting. The target is a specific protein which is considered to be a source of an illness or which promotes its development. The selected molecule's action is directed exactly at this target. In the first stages the number of new molecules can vary from several thousand to several million. All of them without exception pass through a stage of computer modeling evaluating their potential of linking with protein target. It allows to define the binding strength, to predict toxicological characteristics, permeability through membranes and other parameters. As a result, only some tens of molecules with the best results achieved in the course of computer modeling are transferred for creation in chemical laboratories. There they go through a strict selection and testing process again: they undergo a set of chemical, biochemical and biological tests.
The obtained results are compared to the earlier constructed computer model and are used for the molecule improvement. The next stage is the optimization of the found molecules, improvement of their medical qualities. Using the already optimized computer model, new, more effective molecules are selected for synthesis. After a successful completion of two stages of molecular design, 5-6 new molecules, which showed the best results, move to the following level – preclinical experiments on animals. By calculations of experts, medicines of ChemNext project will come to a stage of clinical trials by the end of 2016. It is expected that new drugs against cancer and hepatitis C will enter the market in 2019.