The UK-based drug company Conformetrix has signed its first research agreement with the biotechnology firm AstraZeneca.
Under the terms of the two-year collaboration, Conformetrix’s proprietary NMR-based technology will be applied across AstraZeneca’s pre-clinical therapeutic pipeline to enhance lead discovery and hit identification. The discovery programme will be managed by a joint AstraZeneca-Conformetrix research team.
Conformetrix uses its NMR-based technology to solve the dynamic 3-D structures of a broad range of biomolecules, including peptides, cofactors, oligonucleotides and carbohydrates. As well as partnering with the pharmaceutical industry, Conformetrix will use its technology to generate proprietary drug candidates and intellectual property.
The technology will help determine the bioactive conformations of naturally occurring ligands as templates for drug library enhancement and hit identification.
On top of an undisclosed upfront payment, Conformetrix will receive research funding and be eligible for milestones as certain targets are met.
Sam Williams, CEO of Conformetrix, said: “Conformetrix is delighted that its first collaborative deal is with AstraZeneca, a company with a strong reputation in innovative science-led R&D. We believe that this deal provides important validation of our technology, which improves the quality and efficiency of drug discovery, reducing the number of molecules needed to find a drug and enhancing the likelihood of clinical success.”
Mike Snowden, vice-president and head of discovery sciences at AstraZeneca, said: “We are excited to be working with Conformetrix. We believe their technology will provide a powerful addition to our hit identification and lead optimisation approaches, supporting our strategic objectives to improve the quality and choice of candidate compounds for our early pipeline.”