[Hidden Champions on the Move] GENUV, focusing on the development of new drugs for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s … develops ‘Drug Screening’ technology
CEO Sung-Ho Han, "Imagination" and "Challenge", key drivers pushing science technology forward.
GENUV, an innovative drug discovery company, is expected to kindle new hope for patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Lou Gehrig's and Alzheimer’s as it sets out to conquer the neurodegenerative disease by accelerating the development of a safe and effective new drug.
According to the interview on July 24th, within the vast universe of new drug development, GENUV has dashed forward to develop the ‘seeds’ of new therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases since its founding in 2016.
Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Lou Gehrig's, etc., occur as a result of loss or dysfunction of the neuronal cell.
With the rapid growth of the aging population and the number of patients with neurodegenerative diseases worldwide, the global pharmaceutical industry has invested an astronomical amount of money for drug development over the past few decades. Despite this tremendous effort, however, no effective treatment for these diseases exists today.
Under such circumstances, GENUV saw the need for a completely different approach and dove into the challenge of developing treatments for incurable diseases.
Until now, many pharmaceutical companies’ development strategy was to remove “toxins in the brain (e.g., amyloid-beta, tau tangle, etc.)” which were considered the major cause of the disease.
However, as all such approaches failed, GENUV embarked on the development of new therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig's by taking the approach of generating new neurons, ‘neurogenesis’, and inducing “neural homeostasis”.
GENUV explained that by taking on this challenge with an entirely different approach from existing methodologies, it was necessary to put much effort into breaking conventional beliefs.
GENUV’s bold approach is still very new. It was only this March that Nature Medicine, a renowned international journal, published a research article stating that it is worth considering the development of new drugs in this perspective. GENUV had already implemented such strategy from the beginning.
According to Nature Medicine, formation of new neurons in adult brains occurs even in one’s late eighties, but the ability to generate new neurons decreases sharply in Alzheimer’s disease. The article suggested that, by comparing the number of newly generated neurons, Alzheimer’s disease can be diagnosed at an early stage and treated by promoting the regeneration of neurons.
GENUV’s strategy for neurodegenerative disease treatment is to act on the endogenous population of neural stem cells through drug administration. Such an approach is to induce the differentiation of neural stem cells present in the adult brain into neurons and to protect the existing neurons from damage and recover homeostasis.
Development of screening technology to identify drugs that act on the differentiation of neural stem cells and neuroprotection
Accordingly, GENUV developed a screening technology using mouse neural stem cells to identify drugs that act on the differentiation of neural stem cells and neuroprotection and succeeded in discovering a small molecule drug candidate, SNR 1611, that shows efficacy in neurogenesis and neural homeostasis recovery in the neurodegenerative disease animal model.
GENUV has currently completed patent application and registration in the major countries including Korea and is now preparing for clinical trials on Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig's disease in Korea and abroad. GENUV is also preparing for global licensing.
In addition, GENUV is focusing on the expansion of pipelines using its platform technologies. GENUV presents "ATRIVIEW™", a proprietary screening platform based on neural stem cells for the identification of drug candidates, and "SHINE MOUSE®", an innovative (human) antibody drug discovery platform based on the transgenic mouse model technology, as its prized platforms.
The entire process of new drug development is exceedingly challenging with the success rate from discovery of candidates to approval and bringing to market less than 1 in 10000. In this respect, GENUV’s two platforms carry significance as expandable business models.
GENUV’s CEO and Founder Sung-Ho Han explained, “the technology that GENUV is trying to develop is extremely difficult. Furthermore, due to the oligopolistic market protected by high patent barriers, competence and perseverance/determination are required to overcome these obstacles. GENUV has recruited many technical experts on antibody development as well as patent experts, and working in collaboration with leading researchers who hold proprietary knowledge in transgenic mouse production technology, we are now developing various types of next-generation transgenic mouse antibody platforms that are differentiated from the existing platforms of global companies.”
Founded with the purpose of developing new drugs and drug discovery platforms, GENUV (former, Shine Biopharma) is a research-oriented innovative drug development company that designs and implements patent and licensing strategies to enable the transfer of technology innovation from pharmaceutical and biotechnology research to the new drugs market while directly conducting R&D.
Since the beginning, GENUV has defined new science technology and innovative drugs a product of “scientific imagination” and the spirit of “challenge” and has endeavored to implement these principles. In particular, GENUV is committed to establishing an exemplary set of values and ethics that is represented through the company’s vision, mission, and values.
Han commented, “We are very busy trying to maintain our target goals and schedules with limited manpower. Nevertheless, we have a strong belief that such fundamentals and values are important not only because our work ultimately affects the patient’s health, but also because the highly capital-intensive new drug development business we are in requires commensurate responsibilities and ethics.”
To view the Korean original article, please click here.