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Elsevier selects six start-ups for assistance

Elsevier has announced that six start-up companies have been selected from more than 150 global applicants for The Hive, its innovation initiative for biotech and pharmaceutical start-ups.

Exscientia, LegoChem Biosciences, 4P-Pharma, Beacon Discovery, Sigilon Therapeutics, and Unum Therapeutics, were selected for their commitment to cutting-edge science in emerging areas of research; all six demonstrate significant potential to impact how future treatments are researched and developed. As members of The Hive, each company will receive support, complimentary training, and access to Elsevier's suite of information solutions for 18 months.

'As the pharma ecosystem grapples with how to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into R&D, or how to accelerate the discovery of new biologics and immunotherapies, start-ups around the globe are playing a pivotal role,' said Betsy Davis, senior strategic marketing manager at Elsevier. 'We received more than three times the number of applications than in 2016 - underlining the importance that start-ups place on the role of discovery solutions in innovation.'

'This year, to demonstrate the vast contribution of start-ups in the origin of drug discoveries, we will especially focus on helping these companies close the gap between concept and commercialisation – particularly for start-ups from academic backgrounds. And we look forward to sharing the stories of these dynamic, exciting biotech start-ups with a global audience.'

Elsevier says the goal of The Hive is to help foster the discoveries that happen in these early stages, start-up environments, ensuring that the route to market for new innovations is accelerated. The six participating companies – the second intake of start-ups to The Hive – will use Elsevier's tools to support their groundbreaking and innovative work in some of the hottest research areas:

  • Exscientia, from Scotland, UK; uses systems driven by AI to actively learn best practices from vast repositories of discovery data, and design millions of novel, project-specific compounds; Exscientia is the first company to automate drug design;
  • LegoChem Biosciences, from South Korea (the first Hive participant from Asia); develops Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADC) utilizing its proprietary ADC platform ConjuAllTM, which provides solutions for major unmet needs in ADC development;
  • 4P-Pharma, from France; bridges the gap between academic discoveries and the pharma industry, helping to mature early-stage technologies from the drug discovery level to clinical phase and commercialisation;
  • Beacon Discovery, from San Diego, CA, USA; composed of a group of scientists who have worked together for more than a decade; leverages academic and pharma partnerships to advance research around translating G-Protein Coupled Receptors into new therapeutics;
  • Sigilon Therapeutics, from Cambridge, MA, USA; develops treatments based on a platform enabling a new therapeutic modality for chronic diseases that are currently treated with intermittent injection or infusion in order to restore health and improve quality of life; and
  • Unum Therapeutics, from Cambridge, MA, USA; develops novel immunotherapy products based on its universal Antibody-Coupled T-cell Receptor (ACTR). Unlike other approaches, its therapies are not restricted to a particular target and may be used in many different cancer types.
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