Students from all over the world have come to Prague to learn about the latest in drug discovery
In discovering new drugs, researchers often employ unusual methods and techniques capable of reducing the cost of the process while also accelerating it. Artificial intelligence, for example, is one such aid. Experts will be presenting the latest trends and advances in the field during the eighth annual Prague-Weizmann Summer School on Advances in Drug Discovery. Scheduled to participate are experts from leading international pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies and academia as well as students and young scientists from all over the world. Vladimír Balaš, the Czech education minister, and Anna Azari, the Israeli ambassador to the Czech Republic, also supported the event.
The discovery of a novel therapeutic substance does not automatically mean that it will appear in pharmacies in a few years’ time. In practice, roughly only one or two ideas in ten succeed. The difference is in the follow-up process, i.e. technology transfer.
“Put simply, the aim is to successfully test new substances and secure legal protection for them so that pharmaceutical companies take up the idea. That costs immense sums of money and requires considerable knowhow. Our summer school provides participants from the ranks of PhD students and postdocs with a practical explanation of the entire process. It will give them a far better and more practical understanding that they can then apply in their professional careers,” says IOCB Prague vice-director and founder of the summer school, Martin Fusek.
“Czech universities have earned international renown thanks to their research successes in a number of areas of natural science, engineering, and technology. In biotechnologies, the credit primarily goes to the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague and IOCB Prague. That’s why I very much appreciate the international character of this summer school, which can deepen collaboration between scientific experts in the development of important drugs,” says Czech education minister Vladimír Balaš.
The covid-19 pandemic has shown that investments in science and medical research are essential for improving the quality of therapy and the lives of patients and their surroundings.
“The benefit that the discovery of novel drugs represents has a positive impact on humankind globally regardless of geographic borders. I’m pleased, therefore, that Czech-Israeli collaboration is evolving primarily in the area of medicine and biology. This is in large part the result of collaboration between IOCB Prague and the Weizmann Institute of Science. Thanks to them, young scientists from the Czech Republic and Israel are gathering in Prague this year to work together on projects in this key area. And for us, that’s the best possible promise for the future,” explains Anna Azari, the Israeli ambassador to the Czech Republic.
“The mark of quality and international significance of this summer school is, among other things, the fact that we’ve been joined by the renowned Weizmann Institute of Science, with whom we take turns organizing the event. It’s a fantastic synergy that also extends to our joint research projects – we’re very good in chemistry, and they’re the world leaders in biology. You can’t get by in drug discovery without these kinds of expertise,” says Jan Konvalinka, director of IOCB Prague.
The international event alternates between Israel and the Czech Republic and is one of the most prestigious study exchange programs focusing on advancements in the process of discovering new drugs, from basic science to the manufacturing process. IOCB Prague and the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague co-organize the event with the Weizmann Institute of Science. The international summer school is intended for graduate students and postgrads, who thanks to it gain not only new practical knowledge but namely personal contacts of great importance to their continued professional growth and development.