Santen and twoXAR Announce Strategic Research Collaboration to Discover New Glaucoma Treatments

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Santen, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., the specialty ophthalmology company headquartered in Osaka, Japan, and twoXAR, Inc., an artificial intelligence-driven biopharmaceutical company, announced last week that the two companies have entered into a strategic research collaboration focused on the identification of new drug candidates for glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a group of degenerative disorders of the optic nerve, and it is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. Ophthalmologists use a variety of treatment modalities to address glaucoma in its various forms, including pharmaceuticals, laser procedures, and incisional surgical interventions, but medications generally are the first and most common option.

Under the agreement, twoXAR will use its proprietary computational drug discovery platform to discover, screen, and prioritize novel drug candidates with potential application in ocular indications, with a specific focus on glaucoma. Santen will have the exclusive right to develop and commercialize drug candidates arising from the collaboration. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed. 

twoXAR is an artificial intelligence-driven drug discovery company. The twoXAR technology uses AI-based algorithms trained on a large and diverse set of biomedical data such as gene expression microarrays, protein interaction networks and clinical data. By examining billions of points of information, their technology is able to find out what is relevant, and what is noise, leading to a set of associations that indicate a drug might be most effective for a  given disease.

“We are pleased to have established this strategic collaboration with twoXAR which aims to deliver new treatment options for the millions of people living with glaucoma globally,” said Naveed Shams, MD, PhD, Senior Corporate Officer, Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Global Research and Development at Santen.

“By leveraging twoXAR’s proprietary computational discovery platform to identify novel targets in areas of glaucoma, Santen further strengthens our R&D capabilities while expanding our pipeline of innovative therapeutic opportunities that help fulfill the unmet medical needs in ophthalmology.”

“This collaboration is an exciting example that demonstrates how software-driven approaches can lead the discovery of new drugs rather than simply supporting existing hypotheses,” said Andrew A. Radin, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of twoXAR.

As a part of this collaboration, twoXAR has already started mining (and getting results from) a catalog of over one hundred thousand molecules with data upon which they can draw out these associations.

In 2010, 60.5 million people globally were living with glaucoma. Given the aging of the world’s population, the number of people living with glaucoma may increase to nearly 80 million by 2020.1