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Pharnext: Redefining the Use of Medical Drugs


It doesn’t take much to find concrete proof of how our lives have extended over the past centuries. We are the living confirmation of how far medicine and pharmaceuticals have gone.

Most diseases that had been a threat to our lives can now be treated and cured, and we can continue our lives as if nothing happened in the first place. The key is in “most.” That is where advanced clinical-stage biopharmaceutical companies put their effort in.

Since we are witnessing incredible growth in the pharmaceutical sector, even more after the pandemic outbreak in 2020, a tremendous amount of funding is put into research towards a healthier and longer-existing humanity.

Pharnext, a Paris-based next-generation biopharmaceutical company, with professor Daniel Cohan as a leading force of the team, is up to creating solutions to diseases that have long existed without treatment.

This is the story of Pharnext and its founder, one of the fathers of Genomic - Daniel Cohan.

Turning the Traditional Into Contemporary

Born in 1951, Daniel Cohen is a french geneticist that has so far made a dual career, both as a professor in his field and as an entrepreneur. After graduation and attaining his Ph.D., he continued working at Paris University as a medical genetics professor. His impact on this field has given him the title, as mentioned above, one of the fathers of Genomics.

Although he was taught the traditional sense of medicine, he is the forerunner of modern genetics and has developed the first integrated map of the human genome. In the 90s, he started to place Artificial Intelligence into biology, and by the end of the century, he had set the birth of the Human Genome Program in China, together with his student Chen Zhu from Paris University. Daniel is also a founder of the Center for the Study of Human Polymorphism.

The global analysis technologies that Daniel Cohen invented are now essential when it comes to GWAS (Genome-Wide Association Study) and the concept of contemporary pharmacogenetics overall. Establishing several companies around the world brought him a tangible base to continue developing health institutions with AI as their essential domain.

His lifelong belief that only 50 pharmaceuticals could heal any health problem - if combined and used properly - has brought him immense success throughout his career and eventually gave him the idea of establishing Pharnext.

Pharnext is a company that would cure illnesses known long ago with next-generation solutions.

Next Generation Pharmaceuticals

Pharnext might be the future of pharmaceuticals as we know it. Founded in 2007, it grows to develop solutions to illnesses for which treatments haven't been set yet. By looking at the company's history, one could conclude that they are really in for it. Pleotherapy is a term that Daniel is deeply fond of using and applying in his studies. It represents the notion that any gene or protein that is generated by the body produces effects that could be seemingly unrelated to the illness it was hit by. This means that every disease can have different effects on different individuals, depending on their history of health issues.

Approaching the drug industry from a different point, Daniel conducts the process of giving the well-known cures another purpose. He stood by his saying that he gave to Fortune Magazine years ago "My feeling is that with 50 drugs, we can treat everything.". The adjustment of drugs initially developed as a cure for other illnesses opens a new branch for unique discoveries.

And pelotherapy is what Pharnext has based its philosophy on for future development. This advanced clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company works on some well-known drugs and repurposes them to cure long-existing illnesses.

They have had successful results from the trials they have undergone and gotten approval for.

Their approach to the new wave of pharmaceutical solutions will hopefully bring satisfying results for them and the general population waiting on the brilliant minds.

The Evolution of Pharnext

Since the company’s establishment in 2007, treatments offered on the table of the worldwide pharmaceutical market, especially the ones with a lack of research and cures found, have started to increase rapidly.

However, every industry has its own challenges, as biofarma surely takes the lead. There are drugs to be developed and certified and trials to be conducted and approved. None of this was easy, but Daniel decided to take one step at a time.

The first big launch for the company happened in 2010 with PXT3003 - the launch of Phase 2 clinical trials in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A or CMT1A. The Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is most commonly inherited from a parent if they carry it in their genes, but in 10% of the cases, a sporadic occurrence is a possibility.

Type A is the most common form of the Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, so taking proper precautions would be life-change for the people carrying this disease - and this is what Pharnext is aiming towards.

Following the PXT864 - Launch of Phase 2 clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease, their goals towards the illnesses lacking the correct cure has become even more concrete. Most people have heard of Alzheimer’s, but having a family member suffer from it is heartbreaking.

Pharnext is working towards isolating the pathological causes of severe Alzheimer’s disease dementia, and the drug is currently in progress.

In the upcoming years, the trials for launching the cures for these two diseases have gotten positive results, but as of now, the drugs are still in clinical development.

Colliding with other pharmaceutical companies aiming for the same goals has brought immense company success, especially after the partnership with China’s giant Tasly.

Acquiring Funds for a Brighter Future

In 2016, Pharnext successfully debuted on the Alternext Stock Exchange in Paris, consequently raising $31 million. This was extremely important for the company, as a platform to start developing and researching new candidate drugs was opened.

So far, Pharnext has had 8 funding rounds with 4 investors, totally acquiring $157.6 million. Some of the most recent to invest are Truffle Company and Parinvest.

Next up in the company’s plan is to finance the finalization of the research for the diseases. Moreover, Daniel’s plans are to finalize his candidate drugs which are waiting to be trialed. Also, reinforcing the company's financial structure is one of their aims, as it is the repayment of all financial debts that occurred during the trials.

What would essentially change the company's course in the future is if it gets the permit to give US citizens easy access to their drugs. In order to make the life of patients and their families easier, Pharnext wants patients to have access to investigational drugs before the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval.

As expected, not everyone with the illness would be able to participate in these venues. However, the appropriate candidates may get the chance to use the drug before the official approval, which usually takes way too long.

Future Plans and Aims

What the future of pharmaceuticals, especially the new generation of biopharmaceuticals, has to offer in the future, we are about to discover and learn.

Whether our lifespans will be expended or we’ll have overall better health is up to the new technologies and scientists like Daniel.

Having AI involved in this field means the future is promising. According to Daniel, the options we could have, just by combining the right fields into a brand new and undiscovered one, are endless.

Only time will tell whether Pharnext will really be the next biotech company to improve everyone’s life.