January 31, 2018


Start-ups working on a range of technologies and discoveries – from AI to immunotherapy – receive complimentary access to Elsevier’s information solutions to accelerate innovation

Elsevier, the global information analytics business specializing in science and health, today announced that six start-up companies have been selected from more than 150 global applicants for The Hive, Elsevier’s innovation initiative for biotech and pharmaceutical start-ups.

Exscientia, LegoChem Biosciences, 4P-Pharma, Beacon Discovery, Sigilon Therapeutics, and Unum Therapeutics, were selected for their commitment to cutting-edge science in emerging areas of research; all six demonstrate significant potential to impact how future treatments are researched and developed. As members of The Hive, each company will receive support, complimentary training, and access to Elsevier’s suite of information solutions for 18 months.

“As the pharma ecosystem grapples with how to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into R&D, or how to accelerate the discovery of new biologics and immunotherapies, start-ups around the globe are playing a pivotal role,” said Betsy Davis, Senior Strategic Marketing Manager at Elsevier. “We received more than three times the number of applications than in 2016 – underlining the importance that start-ups place on the role of discovery solutions in innovation.”

“This year, to demonstrate the vast contribution of start-ups in the origin of drug discoveries, we will especially focus on helping these companies close the gap between concept and commercialization – particularly for start-ups from academic backgrounds. And we look forward to sharing the stories of these dynamic, exciting biotech start-ups with a global audience,” Ms. Davis said.

The goal of The Hive is to help foster the discoveries that happen in these early stages, start-up environments, ensuring that the route to market for new innovations is accelerated. The six participating companies – the second intake of start-ups to The Hive – will use Elsevier’s tools to support their groundbreaking and innovative work in some of the hottest research areas, including:

  • Exscientia, from Scotland, UK; uses systems driven by AI to actively learn best practices from vast repositories of discovery data, and design millions of novel, project-specific compounds; Exscientia is the first company to automate drug design

  • LegoChem Biosciences, from South Korea (the first Hive participant from Asia); develops Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADC) utilizing its proprietary ADC platform ConjuAllTM, which provides solutions for major unmet needs in ADC development

  • 4P-Pharma, from France; bridges the gap between academic discoveries and the pharma industry, helping to mature early-stage technologies from the drug discovery level to clinical phase and commercialization

  • Beacon Discovery, from San Diego, CA, USA; composed of a group of scientists who have worked together for more than a decade; leverages academic and pharma partnerships to advance research around translating G-Protein Coupled Receptors into new therapeutics

  • Sigilon Therapeutics, from Cambridge, MA, USA; develops treatments based on a platform enabling a new therapeutic modality for chronic diseases that are currently treated with intermittent injection or infusion in order to restore health and improve quality of life

  • Unum Therapeutics, from Cambridge, MA, USA; develops novel immunotherapy products based on its universal Antibody-Coupled T-cell Receptor (ACTR). Unlike other approaches, its therapies are not restricted to a particular target and may be used in many different cancer types

“Being part of The Hive will increase the efficiency of our team’s research and development activities. Access to Elsevier’s R&D information and solutions will be a real boost to help us in achieving our aim of developing a new blockbuster drug,” said Yong-Zu Kim, CEO and President, LegoChem Biosciences.

Elsevier’s suite of R&D Solutions fuels research and decision-making in early stage drug discovery and development, and are used by most of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies. The products that The Hive participants will be using include: Pathway Studio™, Reaxys®, Reaxys® Medicinal Chemistry, ScienceDirect, Scopus, PharmaPendium®, and Embase®. The Hive, which first launched in 2016 with four start-ups selected to take part, engages the global pharma community via content featuring the participants, which will be widely-promoted throughout Elsevier’s online and social networks.

“At Exscientia, we apply AI algorithms to drug design – one of our biggest challenges is systematic access to high quality data. As such, being part of The Hive and using a range of Elsevier’s tools will help us drive our research forward,” said Andrew Hopkins, CEO, Exscientia. “For example, patent data in Reaxys will support better model building and evaluation of novelty, and Pathway Studio will give us deep visibility into disease pathways. We look forward to working with Elsevier within The Hive to achieve our goals and uncover new commercial applications.”

January 04, 2018


Beacon Discovery, a leading drug discovery company focused on G-Protein Coupled Receptor (GPCR) research, today announced it has entered into a collaboration agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Janssen). Under the terms of the agreement, Beacon and Janssen will focus on the discovery and development of small molecule compounds for multiple undisclosed GPCR targets for the treatment of metabolic diseases. 

Through the collaboration, the companies will conduct research to identify drug candidates for the treatment of obesity and other metabolic diseases where significant unmet medical need exists.  “We are delighted to be part of this strategic discovery collaboration which realizes our vision to combine our GPCR drug discovery expertise with the therapeutic area strengths and development capabilities of Janssen and our other corporate partners,” said Sunny Al-Shamma, Beacon’s CEO. 

The agreement grants Janssen an option to exercise and obtain worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize products resulting from the collaboration. In exchange, Beacon will receive an upfront payment, and if the option is exercised, milestones and royalties on future sales of such products.

About Beacon
Founded in 2016 and headquartered in San Diego, California, Beacon Discovery is a privately held company that is a world leader in all facets of GPCR-focused drug discovery.  Beacon’s mission is to efficiently identify and advance molecules targeting GPCRs from concept to clinic.  Beacon collaborates with biopharma partners to leverage internally enabled GPCR targets and small molecule modulators as well as its wealth of GPCR discovery skills and tools.  In addition to the external collaborations, Beacon also has a number of internal programs focused on therapeutically important targets to address unmet medical needs.


About GPCRs
GPCRs are a large family of cell surface receptors that respond to a variety of external signals. Close to 30% of marketed drugs target this receptor family. GPCR research has expanded in recent years from traditional orthosteric receptor-ligand interactions to encompass new approaches based on signaling via beta-arrestin, biased ligands, allosteric ligands, and persistent signaling. In addition, the revolution in GPCR structural biology has enabled significant advances in both biophysical methods and computational modeling of receptors which can aid in the design of new molecules to target these receptors.


For more information: 
Visit www.beacondiscovery.com or contact Sunny Al-Shamma, CEO, haa@beacondiscovery.com

September 14, 2017


Since its launch in September last year, Beacon has been consolidating its drug discovery operations and advancing a number of internal drug discovery programs. Beacon is developing alliances with local, national and international partners. As a first step in this process we are delighted to announce the initiation of research collaborations on GPCR targets with two San Diego startups. One of these start-ups is Pipeline Therapeutics.


Pipeline Therapeutics is a San Diego-based biotechnology company backed by Versant Ventures, with a focus on neurodegenerative diseases. As they assemble a world-class research team, Pipeline will work with Beacon on assay development and high-throughput screening (HTS) for an orphan GPCR target. In addition, Beacon will assist with a more advanced project where our expertise in a wide range of receptor binding and functional assays should accelerate the launch of Pipeline’s discovery programs in this important disease area. 

September 07, 2016


Experienced team to capitalize on breakthroughs in GPCR biology to drive internal and partnered drug discovery efforts

San Diego, CA- Beacon Discovery Inc. is a newly launched, privately held drug discovery incubator that will efficiently identify and advance molecules targeting G-Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) from concept to clinic. The founders of Beacon have a wealth of diverse experience in GPCR drug discovery and have delivered more than 20 compounds into clinical development during their careers. The team will utilize this unique multidisciplinary expertise along with state-of-the-art technologies to capitalize on recent advances in GPCR pharmacology. “The forefront of GPCR research has shifted in recent years from traditional orthosteric receptor-ligand interactions towards understanding allosterism, biased ligands, and persistent signaling” said Dominic Behan, President and CEO of Beacon Discovery Inc. “In addition there has been a revolution in GPCR structural biology. Our extensive experience allows us to leverage these advances to more efficiently drive drug discovery efforts for us and our partners, delivering superior treatments to patients.”

Beacon’s research assets include a broad array of high throughput and targeted assay platforms addressing emerging GPCR biology, a well characterized diverse compound collection, state-of-the-art computational approaches, and a broad range of in vivo pharmacology expertise and capabilities. The company intends to utilize these platforms to facilitate the drug discovery process both internally, and with global partners. Beacon has established academic and pharmaceutical company collaborations, and is currently exploring additional opportunities. The company will maintain a focus in CNS research, whilst exploring innovative pathway-directed primary cell-based approaches to target other critical therapeutic areas with high unmet medical need.

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