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DNA-based Small Molecule Screening Technology to Empower European Drug Discovery Partnership

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 18 Nov 2013
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Two European drug-discovery companies have agreed to join forces in the search for anticancer drug molecules targeting several key proteins.

Nuevolution (Copenhagen, Denmark), a leading small molecule discovery company will contribute its proprietary Chemetics screening technology to the collaborative effort with Cancer Research Technology (London, United Kingdom), the commercial arm of the Cancer Research UK charity organization.

Nuevolution’s Chemetics technology employs standard laboratory equipment to unify the best aspects of high throughput and fragment-based screening. With this approach in only two to three days, more than 100 million molecules may be screened by one technician against a given target using only micrograms of target material and nanograms of library material. In the screening process, which was invented and patented by Nuevolution, the target of interest is exposed to a mixture of 100 million molecules. From this mixture, the target will select those molecules with the appropriate ligand. Each compound within a Chemetics library is linked to a strand of DNA encoding the synthetic history and chemical structure of the small molecule produced from a split-and-mix synthesis process. The use of DNA offers a unique opportunity for storage of chemical information. The DNA-tag provides essentially single-molecule detection by allowing amplification and sequencing for hit/lead identification from in vitro affinity screening of compound libraries of immense complexity.

Researchers in the Discovery Laboratories at Cancer Research Technology have expertise in molecular and cellular biology, assay development, high throughput screening, structural biology, pharmacology, and medicinal chemistry. Discovery Laboratory scientists seek to identify and develop small molecule and biological cancer therapies from drug discovery stage to in vivo proof-of-principle studies.

In the new project, molecules identified by Nuevolution Chemetics technology will be transferred to Cancer Research Technology for in-vitro screening and cellular activity assays for the target proteins, to select the most promising molecules for further development as potential drugs.

Dr. Thomas Franch, CSO of Nuevolution, said, "We are delighted to enter into this collaboration and believe that a strong synergy between the Cancer Research Technology and Nuevolution capabilities will provide for discovery traction on tough-to-drug targets."

Dr. Hamish Ryder, director of drug discovery at Cancer Research Technology's Discovery Laboratories, said, "This deal is exciting as it will allow us to address a number of "low-tractability" cancer targets, which have proved difficult for ourselves and others to establish a foothold in drug discovery. This important partnership combines Cancer Research Technology’s drug discovery expertise and Cancer Research UK’s strong academic research base with powerful technology from Nuevolution to enable 100s of millions of compounds to be rapidly assessed—which we hope one day will be a starting point for new options for cancer patients and increased survival.”

Related Links:
Cancer Research Technology

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