LISAvienna Business Seminar „Drug developability - smart preclinical casting for the best small molecules and biologics“

The LISAvienna business seminar “Drug developability - smart preclinical casting for the best small molecules and biologics” offered key inputs to Vienna biotechnology start-ups for overcoming the first obstacles in pre-clinical development.

Johannes Sarx, head of the focus program Life Science Austria of aws and LISAvienna managing director, welcomed 41 guests from 30 companies.

The pre-clinical development of pharmaceuticals is full of challenges and decisions for how to proceed with the research. The identification and selection of the most appropriate targets is comparable to a casting, where only the best are chosen. In the end, the winners should be certain – in this case the (hopefully) most effective targets. As a part of the LISAvienna business seminar, the challenges and support available for this "target casting" were highlighted in three lectures.

In his lecture "Challenges of early drug development in startups," Oliver Szolar, CEO of Savira pharmaceuticals GmbH, reported on the challenges in selecting the best target and best matching active molecule. A clear idea of the target is already essential during early development and should already be described in the business plan, says Szolar. At the same time, you should not stiffen too much on a target, but rather discuss the results of the pre-clinical trials very openly in the team and also not be deterred by setbacks. It is sometimes also necessary to take one or two steps back and the choice falls on a molecule that was initially only a "second choice" and then was found to indeed be better in a comparison.

Yvette Stallwood, head of Applied Protein Services of Lonza Biologics, then reported on the possibilities of post-translational modifications of biologics and vaccines. These changes have the potential to significantly improve the properties of a future drug – which is why it must be tested in pre-clinical development.

Then Gudrun Birk from Merck Millipore offered an overview of the offerings from the company in the field of small molecule development. Solubility and pharmaceutical form play a crucial role here. There is a wide variety of possibilities here to improve the effectiveness of small molecules.

Over wine and bread, there was then the opportunity to speak with the lecturers and informally discuss specific practical examples with other participants.

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