AstraZeneca expands drug discovery collaboration with X-Chem

pharmafile | January 18, 2018 | News story | Research and Development, Sales and Marketing AstraZeneca, X-Chem, pharma 

AstraZeneca and X-Chem are to expand their existing drug discovery collaboration, it has emerged. The partnership marks the third agreement between the pair since 2012, and builds on a relationship that has already seen the licensing of a number of novel small molecules across multiple discovery programmes and therapeutic indications.

The new agreement will focus on the synthesis and delivery of custom libraries to the major pharma firm, as well as the transfer of X-Chem’s drug discovery engine DEX, allowing AstraZeneca to screen DNA-encoded libraries in-house.

The DEX platform comprises more than 120 billion unique small molecules derived from iterative combinatorial chemistry processes, with each compound identifiable by a linked DNA barcode. These libraries are utilised in low volume, affinity-based screening against biological targets , allowing users to single out ligands by DNA sequencing.

“The DEX platform is an important pillar of our small molecule discovery strategy,” Dr Menelas Pangalos, Executive Vice President of AstraZeneca’s Innovative Medicines and Early Development Biotech Unit. “This extended collaboration reflects the strength and success of our work with X-Chem over the past five years and secures long-term access to this capability.”

Dr Rick Wagner, Chief Executive Officer of XChem, added: “The relationship with AstraZeneca has been one of X-Chem’s longest and most fruitful collaborations. AstraZeneca’s decision to internalise the DEX platform and conduct DEL screening in-house is a testament to the power of the DEX technology and its importance for small molecule drug discovery in the future.”

As part of the collaboration, X-Chem will be given upfront technology access, license fees, and multi-year committed funding. In addition, the firm will also be entitled to commercial and R&D milestones payments, as well as royalties for each drug successfully commercialised from the pair’s joint target-based programmes.

Matt Fellows

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