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Thirty projects involving early-stage therapies participated in the first edition of Here Comes Your Lead, an initiative of Biocat that puts drug-discovery projects in touch with partners to establish research collaboration models and accelerate these therapies towards the preclinical phase.

The event, held on 26 April, received support from the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and took place at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB). At the event, seven partners pitched their partnering models and services: EvotecLifeArcFuturRX, Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Inkemia IUCT M.Miralpeix Pharma Consulting and Eva Méndez Drug Discovery. Afterwards, the partners and researchers gathered for more than 80 one-on-one meetings.

The CRG, which is collaborating on the initiative, presented its development services but also had researchers participating in the event. “We’re working on a project for lung cancer and we’ve designed several lead compounds. At this event, we hope to find companies we can partner with that will help us continue development of the project to validate these compounds,” highlights Jordi Hernández, resident entrepreneur at the CRG.

Another one of the research centers that presented their projects was the IRB Barcelona Cell Signaling group. “We’re working on stress-activated regulation of the cell cycle and we’ve found a possible candidate that could be used for a cancer application,” explains Eulàlia de Nadal, UPF professor and IRB affiliated group leader. “We participated in this Biocat event looking for a partner to help us go from our hit to a lead.”

Three projects from the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) in cardiology, oncology and metabolism were searching for opportunities to accelerate their drug-discovery projects. “All three projects are in the early stages, but at different points, so we’re looking for different types of partners. We think this Biocat event is a good place to find just that: new partners to continue development of the projects and push them forwards,” highlights Martí Archs, Innovation and Technology Transfer project manager at VHIR.

Inkemia IUCT was one of the partners at the event. Marta Pascual-Gilabert, director of Drug Discovery at Inkemia IUCT, was highly satisfied with the results of the event: “It was very rewarding because it was an opportunity for many of us working in drug discovery to get together. We are all close, geographically, but may not be aware of each other’s capacities and possibilities for collaboration.”

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