Turbine Establishes Research Collaboration with Ono Pharmaceutical to Identify and Validate Novel Oncology Targets

24 October 2023

Turbine, a computational biology company that deploys empirically validated in silico cell simulations to guide biopharma R&D, today announced that it has entered into a collaboration with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd (Osaka, Japan, “Ono”) to identify and validate novel targets within one of Ono’s priority domains of cancer biology.

Under the terms of the agreement, Turbine will apply its end-to-end, interpretable cell simulation technology, the Simulated Cell™ platform, to the in silico discovery of novel targets for potential therapeutic development. Turbine will also conduct in vitro mechanism validation of identified targets in its state-of-the-art laboratory facility and manage in vivo validation studies. Turbine will receive payments upon execution of the agreement and for the completion of the target identification screen on its platform including in vitro and in vivo validation. Additionally, Turbine will be eligible for milestone payments based on the progress of drug development and commercialization by Ono.

“Ono has a history of developing transformative cancer therapies, including its important role in launching Opdivo (nivolumab), the first ever approved PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor,” said Szabolcs Nagy, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Turbine. “We believe that our cutting-edge cell simulation technology will enable the discovery of additional targets to fuel the expansion of Ono’s oncology pipeline. We are excited for the opportunity to demonstrate the combination of our Simulated Cells™ and proprietary validation assays that both enable validating computational predictions and drive the development of an ever more predictive simulation of human biology.”

“We appreciate Turbine’s AI-driven cell simulation platform for discovering the novel therapeutic targets that cannot be identified using traditional approaches. Turbine will also provide information on the mechanisms of action and biomarkers of the targets, which can accelerate drug development in Ono,” said Toichi Takino, Senior Executive Officer / Executive Director, Discovery & Research of Ono. “Through this collaboration, we are committed to expanding our oncology development pipeline and bringing new therapeutic options to cancer patients with high unmet needs.”

About Ono

Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., headquartered in Osaka, is an R&D-oriented pharmaceutical company committed to creating innovative medicines in specific areas. Ono focuses its research on oncology, immunology, neurology and specialty research with high medical needs as priority areas for discovery and development of innovative medicines. For further information, please visit the company’s website at https://www.ono-pharma.com/en.

About Turbine

Based in London, UK, with offices in Budapest, Hungary and Cambridge, UK, Turbine was founded in 2016 by Kristof Szalay PhD, Daniel Veres MD PhD, Szabolcs Nagy and Ivan Fekete MD. The team’s vision is to overcome the limitations in developing oncology treatments with true patient benefit through combining molecular biology and artificial intelligence (AI).

Turbine’s Simulated Cell™ technology leverages machine learning to build an end-to-end, interpretable cell simulation platform based on protein interactome and additional omics layers. The virtual cells capture patient biology better than currently available experimental models and are used for in silico experiments having never been run in the lab, testing more drug-like effects than current high throughput genetic screening approaches. Validating the uncovered hypotheses of causality in Turbine’s state-of-the-art laboratory facility and using the resulting data as feedback further improves the model’s predictive prowess. Informing biopharma R&D through in silico experiments improves the likelihood of success for truly novel therapies and allows existing assets to be optimally targeted at responder patients.

Simulations have already been validated from target discovery to patient stratification and life cycle management through Turbine’s proprietary pipeline and collaborations with multiple big pharma companies and research institutes, like Bayer and Cancer Research Horizons. Turbine’s latest investment round (Series A) was closed in 2022, co-led by MSD (Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway NJ, USA) Global Health Innovation Fund and Mercia Asset Management, who were joined by both new and existing investors MassMutual Ventures, Delin Ventures, Day One Capital, Accel, Atlantic Labs, XTX Ventures, o2h Ventures and Boston Millenia Partners.

Expanding from an early focus on overcoming resistance to DNA Damage Response (DDR) inhibitors, Turbine is pursuing multiple high unmet oncology needs. For more information, visit www.turbine.ai or follow Turbine on LinkedIn.

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