Policy & Regulation
SK Biopharmaceuticals and twoXAR Team to Discover and Develop First-In-Class Treatments for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
22 April 2019 - - South Korean pharmaceutical company SK Biopharmaceuticals and US-based artificial intelligence -driven biopharmaceutical company twoXAR, Inc have inked an agreement to discover and develop first-in-class therapeutics for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the companies said.

Under the agreement, twoXAR will use its AI discovery technology to identify a set of initial candidates with the potential to treat lung cancer through novel biological mechanisms of action.

After screening, SK Biopharmaceuticals plans to use its internal AI Drug Design technology to optimize a lead candidate and then conduct IND-enabling studies.

SK Biopharmaceuticals will retain exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize the drug candidate. twoXAR will receive an upfront payment and will be eligible for development and commercial milestone payments in addition to royalties.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths globally with a five-year survival rate of less than 18%.

The two main types of lung cancer are small cell and non-small cell, accounting for 10-15% and 85% of all lung cancers, respectively. Treatment is based on the lung cancer stage and subtype, and generally consists of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of these treatments.

However, the disease is known to become resistant to current lines of therapy. It is estimated that there were 2m new lung cancer cases diagnosed worldwide in 20182.

SK Biopharmaceuticals is focused on research and development of treatments for disorders of central nervous system and cancer.

Currently, SK Biopharmaceuticals is conducting research for the development of innovative new drugs at its research center in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province, Korea.

Further, the company is pursuing global clinical development and direct marketing through its US subsidiary, SK Life Science, Inc., in Paramus, New Jersey, USA.

SK Biopharmaceuticals has a pipeline of eight compounds in development for the treatment of CNS disorders including epilepsy, sleep disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, among others.

The first product the company is planning to commercialize, cenobamate (YKP3089), is an investigational compound for the potential treatment of partial-onset seizures in adult patients.

The NDA for cenobamate for the potential treatment of partial-onset seizures in adult patients is currently under review by the FDA.

twoXAR is an artificial intelligence-driven biopharmaceutical company that leverages its computational platform to identify promising drug candidates, de-risk the opportunities through preclinical studies, and progress drug product candidates into the clinic through industry partnerships.

Based in Mountain View, California, the twoXAR team includes experts in drug discovery and development, biomedical informatics, computational biology, data science and software development.

Investors in twoXAR include SoftBank Ventures, the Andreessen Horowitz Bio Fund, OS Fund, CLI Ventures, and the Stanford-StartX Fund.