Impact Biomedical Initiates Quantum, a New Frontier in Pharmaceutical Development
Impact Biomedical, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SGX-listed Singapore eDevelopment, has announced the initiation of Quantum, a research program designed as a solution to the ‘patent cliff’, the impending pharmaceutical threat. A patent cliff looms when patents for blockbuster drugs expire without being replaced with new drugs, and pharmaceutical companies experience an abrupt decrease in revenue, reducing overall pharmaceutical innovation globally, including crucial research into new methods to prevent and treat illnesses.
Impact, through their strategic partner Global Research and Discovery Group Sciences (GRDG), has created a solution called Quantum, a new frontier in pharmaceutical development. Quantum is a new class of medicinal chemistry that uses advanced methods to boost efficacy and persistence of natural compounds and existing drugs while maintaining the safety profile of the original molecules. Instead of modifying functional groups, as is typically done presently in drug discovery, this new technique alters the behavior of molecules at the sub-molecular level.
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Impact Biomedical’s transition to the Quantum research program comes after the completion of the research and development stage of its existing biodefense intellectual portfolio, which is now moving to the licensing and commercialization phase. The portfolio was valued by independent experts at approximately US$1.39 billion as announced by the Group on 1 June 2020. It includes:
Linebacker, a universal therapeutic designed to shadow the Panacea Project, a US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program to provide novel, multi-target therapeutics for unmet physiological needs; 3F BioFragrance, designed for the Open Air Defense Initiative, a strategy to protect locations where large numbers of people gather or transit; and Equivir, an OTC medication designed as an antiviral treatment and prophylactic, comprising polyphenols that are GRAS or Generally Recognized as Safe, meaning its safety and behaviour in humans is already well understood and therefore is designed to proceed directly to human trials.
Daryl Thompson, Director of Scientific Initiatives and founder of GRDG, said, “The patent cliff represents a significant crisis in pharmaceutical innovation. The primary cause of the crisis is that most techniques for modifying natural molecules to pharmaceutical grade products are essentially ‘played out.’ Another way to explain this is that most of the methods to make drugs have already been published in scientific papers or rationalized in long expired patents. This means that these methods can render the development of new, novel compounds unpatentable. The medium cost of bringing a drug to market today is roughly US$985 million.
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“Previous strategies for increasing the potency of a natural compound to pharmaceutically therapeutic levels employed the used of other molecular modification schemes. These techniques typically included standard practices such as altering functional groups, the addition or substitution of halogens and or the inclusion of lipid structures. The goal of these modifications would be to increase stimulation or inhibition of the molecule against its target site as well as increase bioavailability. Unfortunately, these effective techniques are being rendered moot due to lack of patentability due to prior disclosure.
“We have devised a method to break through this barrier and open a new path for drug development. We will be moving past macro-molecular techniques as mentioned above and will go deeper into the sub-atomic. Here we can look at molecular modification from the perspective of quantum physics. For instance, our previous work on the Linebacker program utilized halogenation to create electron rich portions in the molecule to increase its therapeutic potential. This technique, called sigma-hole generation or X-bonding, is well understood in the scientific community. However, once we disclose how we used this technique in a patent to create a new drug, it can never be patented again once the patents are expired.
“Quantum molecular modifications approach this problem from the perspective of manipulating the sub-atomic electron balance as a whole in consideration of the sum of both kinetic and potential energies within the molecular state. The exploitation of modification of this type by total energy configurations allows the use of quantum principles such as the Hamiltonian Operator as tools for understanding how to manipulate subatomic forces to increase a molecule’s effectiveness as potential new life saving drug.
“This approach allows for a virtually endless array of methods that can lead to a new era in drug discovery possibilities. With our Biodefense mission complete, we will now move forward with the initialization of our Quantum Applications Research Platform. We expect to deliver the first 6 Quantum molecules to research institutes within three business quarters.”
There is currently no outlay of funds required for the initiation of Impact BioMedical’s Quantum research program. Depending on the state of development of Quantum, SeD will fund its development through a variety of sources ranging from its internal source of funds and/or externally such as through funds generated from financial institutions as well as potential debt and/or equity fund raising. This new research will propel global drug discovery forward and foster increased innovation and ultimately better health worldwide.