Interviews with Dr Torsten Hoffmann (Summit Chairman), Dr Bertil Lindmark and Herbie Newell, speakers at the marcus evans Discovery Summit 2014, taking place in Lisbon, Portugal, 31 March - 1 April 2014.
How Can Pharma Companies Boost Preclinical Trial Success?
Discovery Summit 2014
31 March - 1 April 2014
speakers from the Discovery Summit 2014 discuss…
How Can Pharma Companies Boost
Preclinical Trial Success?
Dr Torsten Hoffmann, Executive VP and CSO, Zealand Pharma
In my view, three steps are imperative for successful pharmaceutical R&D; 1) Select the right
target and identify the critical pathway, 2) Ensure access to fully translational disease models,
and 3) Carefully design clinical Phase II PoC trials, including strong surrogate biomarkers for
clinical outcomes. It is also important that human safety and tolerability are well predicted
At Zealand, we have made the conscious decision to outsource the regulatory part of preclinical
research and focus our competencies on innovative peptide design and drug development.
Contrary to the R&D business models applied by larger pharmaceutical organisations, we believe
“small is beautiful”. Via an agile organisational set-up, Zealand implements a dynamic feedback
loop between research and development, enabling a fast and smooth route from target selection
to clinical PoC. Post PoC, we pursue a partnering approach, and all activities are driven by our
focus to provide better healthcare solutions for patients.
Dr Bertil Lindmark, CSO & Executive Director R&D, Almirall
Preclinical success is dependent upon target and pathway selection, and understanding how they
relate to human beings. There is a big knowledge gap here as most of the data are from cellular
or very limited in-vitro experiments. Very few studies have been done on man and are
considered meaningful for the selection of targets and pathways.
However, with the increasing use of systemic medicine and a better understanding of pathways,
we can better identify the areas of redundancy where we can corner a biological action to get a
clinical effect. With biomarkers, that further improves the chances of finding clinical effect in
Our focus is on anti-inflammatory targets, where there are many unknowns. We prefer to focus
in one area, to gain a good understanding of drug benefits and risks, and how to improve on
Herbie Newell, Professor, Cancer Therapeutics, Northern Institute of Cancer Research
First and foremost is improving the understanding of the disease process at a cellular and
molecular level. If you pick the wrong target the drug will not be effective in the clinic.
Target selection depends upon the disease. If it has a genetic basis, then a genetic analysis of
tumour material will help identify the best target. In some disease settings, the issue is incorrect
signalling, therefore understanding the signalling pathways that lead to the disease is critical.
We need to improve preclinical models of disease. Even if we have a very solid hypothesis, we
must demonstrate activity in an appropriate preclinical disease model. We need to constantly
strive to improve the quality of preclinical models, so that results are predictive of what is
subsequently observed in patients.
The Pharma Network – marcus
evans Summits group delivers
About the Discovery Summit 2014
This unique forum will take place at the Grande Real Villa Itália Hotel & Spa,
Cascais, Lisbon, Europe, 31 March - 1 April 2014. Offering much more than any
conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together
esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and
interactive networking event. The Summit includes presentations on boosting
pipeline productivity, understanding disease mechanism, finding promising targets,
and reviewing economic and regulatory challenges.
Please note that the Summit is a
Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division
+ 357 22 849 313
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