Argentina could be a “hub” for preclinical drug trials

He Argentine scientist Christian Gerdes, who is one of the many “brains” who left the country, returned to stay. He was one of the creators of a recombinant monoclonal function that is used as an “innovative therapy” in patients with chronic lymphatic leukemia and follicular lymphoma, he was in Buenos Aires and burst airs of hope.

“If we advance in scientific training here, Argentina could become a center technological. The potential is incredible. The only thing missing is people who want to do it, ”he said without further ado during the conference that, as a molecular biologist and biotechnologist, he gave at the University Institute for Business Productive and Technological Development of Argentina (IUDPT).

“Currently, profitability invested in research and development by big pharmaceuticals does not exceed 2%. That is to say that it is below the yield of the United States Treasury bonds. That is a big problem, which is not seen in the news”, points out Christian Gerdes.

preclinical trials in laboratory.

“Therefore, we must improve the strategy of ‘industry plus development’ in pharmacology. As? Lowering development costs, which exceed 3,000 million dollars for each drug, and increasing the success rates, which do not reach 10% of the total number of molecules developed,” he said.

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According to the scientist, who left the country in 1997 to do a doctorate at the University of Manchester, the outsourcing of in vitro or in vivo preclinical studies that the pharmaceutical industry sector is carrying out represents a gigantic opportunity for our country. .

Argentina could be a hub for preclinical drug trials

“Currently, Argentina is cheaper than India and China. We only need people who are capable of conduct those studies. That is why the function that a university institute such as the IUDPT fulfills for their training is so important”, explained Christian Gerdes.

“The chinese and the indians they have the infrastructure, but they need to improve their capacities to carry out these studies” added Gerdes, co-founder of the Swiss company Glycart Biotechnology in which he developed a technology unknown until then, patented as GlycoMAb, a platform that allows the sugars of treatments to be modified to increase their biological activity.

Molecular biologist Christian Gerdes
Preclinical trials. Molecular biologist Christian Gerdes, a recovered brain for Argentina.

Once underway, Gerdes sold his company at Roche Laboratory, in 2005, for 235 million Swiss francsbut he did not disassociate himself from his projects and research since he became head of Pharmacology at Roche for 13 years, until 2018.

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It was then that Gerdes implemented the Obinutuzumaba recombinant monoclonal humanized anti-CD20 type II of the IgG1 isotype, modified by glycoengineering, which is indicated as therapy, in different combinations, for patients with chronic lymphatic leukemia and follicular lymphoma.

And this development was very well received by the medical community since, in 2013, it was the first drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)for its acronym in English) under the regime of “Innovative therapy”.

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Gerdes returned to the country and participated in the cycle of conferences open to the community organized by the University Institute for Business Productive and Technological Development of Argentina (DIUPT). Among a hundred years of attendees, lectured Guillermo Gómez Galizia, president of the DPT Foundation; Mariano Álvarez, rector of the IUDPT; Cintia Hernández, Secretary of Science and Technology of the university institute; representatives of the Argentine Chambers of Biotechnology and Bioinputs and other industry leaders.

One of the greatest ambitions of Christian Gerdes, at the moment, is to develop a project of preclinical studies in the pharmaceutical industry in Argentina.

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I already did it in Spainusing the infrastructure of the malaga university. Here we have a whole scientific-technological infrastructure that is not primarily devoted to this objective. Therefore, the only thing that needs to be done is to use infrastructure that already exists with better strategic criteria”, he expressed.

As an advantage, the scientist insisted that the Argentina has the necessary human resources to rise to this challenge. “Suitable people are needed, who have worked in basic science and who solve problems. In a project of this type, his services are going to be charged international prices, like those earned by a Globant expert, for example, ”he concluded to tempt more than one who will surely already be putting together his CV.

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