The accelerated globalization of the drug development ecosystem, as well as the technologies involved in the research, have created an environment that is fostering partnerships between academic and industry in translation of multi-disciplinary efforts to address unmet needs of patient populations.
Drug research and development is an exciting, although arduous, complex, and high-priced/high-monetization endeavor. This is a uniquely opportune time for novel discoveries in material science/nanomedicine to solve the longstanding issues of delivery and efficacy of already approved drugs. Despite the scientific advancements and efforts to accelerate the process of drug development using innovative technologies, there are still several challenges which are unmet, and there is a need to solve issues at the basic scientific level for the development of new drugs and new approaches for treatment.
LeadInvent Pharma has taken on the challenge of transforming Drug Research and Development with a focus to improve drug with better targeting, advance nano formulations and smart patient selection. The company is on a quest to identify areas in the complex development chain that needs to be improved or methods to hasten the process.
LeadInvent Pharma was founded by a team of scientists, industry veterans, top academic experts and seasoned entrepreneurs who collectively bring over 100 man-year experiences in drug development and pharma science. LeadInvent Pharma has a strong scientific advisory board that seamlessly ties in expertise encompassing clinical science to lab research to biopharma translational expertise to regulatory insights.
Meet the Team
Pankaj Sharma is the Co-founder & Managing Director of LeadInvent Pharma. He is a life science tech entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in Drug Discovery. Before starting LeadInvent Pharma, Pankaj along with his co-founder Surojit Bose had cofounded a computational biology company that they spun off from IIT Delhi. With the advent of LeadInvent Pharma the team joined hands with Dr. Pradip Bhatnagar Co-founder & CEO LeadInvent Pharma. Dr. Bhatnagar was president of research & strategic advisor Daiichi Sankyo (India). Earlier, Ranbaxy Drug Discovery. Dr. Bhatnagar is a veteran with over 30 years of drug discovery experience across Ranbaxy (India), GSK (US), Nycomed (Norway), SmithKlineBeecham (US) and a member of top academic team.
LeadInvent Pharma team has built a strong team of scientist at LeadInvent Pharma with the multidisciplinary background including mathematics, computer science, biotechnology, computational biology to organic chemistry.
Pankaj says, “At LeadInvent Pharma we are driven by our commitment to develop treatment for underserved patients with acute need for effective interventions, usually identified as orphan indications. Recognizing patient need, even FDA has defined an accelerated pathway for evaluation and approval of involved drugs. Brain cancer is one such disease where the current treatment methods are not very effective, and there is an urgent need for new ideas to challenge this disease.” He disclosed that the team at LeadInvent Pharma is working towards creating the world’s first of its kind, international patent protected, adjuvant therapy to surgery that would allow surgeons to remove tumor tissue that surgeons are not able to remove through conventional surgical methods. Another disease area where they are working on is in providing treatment options to children born with certain congenital disabilities. The majority of their research work is in Orphan Diseases. These conditions affect a small number of patients, but provide an outstanding commercial niche for therapies that can provide treatment options for these patients. LeadInvent Pharma’s products are mainly driven by the use of nanotechnology and nanomedicines.
Tackling Challenges the Tech Way
Drug development is a complex field and requires a deep level of business planning and scientific decision making.
At LeadInvent Pharma, the development team has worked hard to deconvolute the complex problems of selecting the right drug program for the right patient population. The team broke down the problems into three steps. Step1 was to select a big enough problem that could be solved, to have the most significant impact on the patients. Step2 was to ensure that the team has access to the necessary technology, collaborations and starting IP to get started with problem-solving. And Step3 was to partner with investors who would back the team up in such an endeavor.”
Pankaj states, “It is easier said than done and each step required a lot of effort, time and brainstorming. As our first step, we had the challenge of selecting the right drug program to work with. We sifted across multiple programs and had to trash almost two dozen drug program for various reasons such as not enough starting data, Intellectual property conflict, unclear business return on development, etc.”
Committed to Make a Difference
LeadInvent Pharma has achieved a lot in last 11 months from licensing patents into the company to signing up strategic MOU’s with top academic research centers across India and the US. According to Pankaj, the real success barometer for a drug development company is how their drug performs in Human studies. But before such studies are taken up the company has to show the efficacy of its drug in animal system. LeadInvent Pharma cancer drug program is going through animal studies, and the team is excited to see how the drug performs in animals. These results will firmly establish the science behind the company and would open up a clear path for product development for the company.
The company’s strategy is to focus on two or three major orphan diseases and spend the next three years developing products for selected diseases. The key is to continue to invest in building a great team around the products and expanding collaborations. The growth parameter for LeadInvent Pharma would be the creation of clinically validated products backed up by strong global IP.
“We have already created a unique team of scientists who are working full time for us. At the same time, through our collaborations, we have access to some of the world’s leading laboratories and thought leaders for developing and testing our products,” says Pankaj.