New Drug Discovery Alliance to Tackle High Rate of Failure in Drug Development

Two prominent preclinical safety companies have launched a unique European alliance to address the high safety-related failure rate in drug development.

ApconiX and PhysioStim, two companies with decades of experience and complementary expertise in drug safety testing, have combined to create a European centre of excellence for preclinical cardiovascular safety evaluation. 

This alliance will provide both high-throughput ion channel screening, advanced cardiovascular safety testing models and experienced project scientists in one collaborative team. This enables both large and small pharmaceutical companies to make the right decisions about which compounds to take forward to avoid cardiovascular toxicity, the leading cause of safety-related project failure in drug development today.

The new alliance is launched officially at the Safety Pharmacology Society Annual Meeting in Berlin next week (September 24-27) and is already attracting enquiries from the industry.

Dr Michael Morton, co-founder and director at ApconiX said: “This alliance creates a step change in cardiovascular testing in the pharmaceutical industry. Our extensive experience and capability in ion channel safety data along with PhysioStim’s high quality expertise in cardiovascular pharmacology will help drug developers make better decisions about the compounds to keep and those to eliminate in drug discovery.

“The move in pharma R&D towards greater outsourcing has inevitably led to a decline in internal capability in many organisations. This affects both specialised technical skills and experience and the ability to interpret data correctly in the right context for each drug programme. This is especially true of drug safety.”

ApconiX was co-founded in 2015 by Dr Morton, Professor Ruth Roberts and Dr Richard Knight, following many years employed in big pharma, providing toxicology and electrophysiology expertise to drug discovery and development teams. PhysioStim, founded in 2000, is headed by Marie Le Grand PhD who holds a Masters in cardiovascular pharmacology and is supported by a team of experts in cardiovascular safety and quality assurance.

Dr Morton added: “When companies discovering and developing drugs don’t know how to make the right decision based on a wealth of data, they can focus on the wrong things which results in wasted time and money, something that’s become a prevalent problem in the industry.

PhysioStim’s Marie Le Grand said: “In today’s new landscape for drug development, pharma companies need to build relationships with experts to be confident they are focusing on the right compounds with reduced safety risks.

“With a team that has notched up decades of experience in different drug projects working in big pharma – analysing data and making evidence-based decisions – we know what companies are looking for in a potential new drug.

ApconiX and PhysioStim will share the marketing and financial returns of the alliance.

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