AstraZeneca and Lead Discovery Center (LDC), Dortmund, established a partnership within early drug discovery. Targets for collaboration are identified by LDC from its broad network of academic research leaders. For nominated targets, AstraZeneca supplies a diversity screening set of up to 250,000 compounds from its corporate library to LDC. High Throughput Screening assays are developed and performed by LDC scientists. Input from computational chemists within AstraZeneca identifies series which are then developed further through the hit-to-lead phase at LDC, in close collaboration with the proposing academic research lab. Regular communication between the two collaboration parties ensures a close discussion on novel targets and on the progress of partnered targets. This opportunity enables the LDC researchers to prosecute target programs using a high quality pharmaceutical industry compound library to identify leads complementary to those accessed from their own collection, and enables AstraZeneca to partner on exciting drug candidates that may emerge.
The partnership is structured such that AstraZeneca will provide existing molecular information on any promising molecules identified from the HTS campaign. LDC scientists have the opportunity to develop molecules into lead series, with AstraZeneca having a preferred right to obtain a license for further development and commercialisation. This is a powerful example of how industry and academia can collaborate for mutual benefit and facilitate research into emerging areas of disease biology that may not otherwise have occurred.
“From the first day, our interaction with the colleagues from AstraZeneca was driven by a productive spirit, working collaboratively at eye level on novel target programs” said Dr Jan Eickhoff, Head of Assay Development & Screening at LDC. ”AstraZeneca not only provides their compound library but also valuable scientific input and expert opinions from their therapeutic areas.”