Isogenica and Biolauncher, Cambridge UK together with Cresset Group, Welwyn Garden City UK have announced funding from the Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s innovation agency, for a £1M project to develop a highly-scalable approach to small molecule drug discovery.
The funding enables the consortium to develop an integrated platform to identify diverse small molecules active against drug targets using very large peptide libraries to explore chemical space.
The consortia’s objective is to demonstrate that this platform provides a new scalable approach to the early stage drug discovery challenges that is rapid, cost effective and applicable to intracellular, extracellular and membrane bound drug targets.
The process will use Isogenica’s libraries to select a population of diverse binding peptides against a biological target. These peptides will be analyzed using novel structural bioinformatics already developed by Biolauncher to identify their active conformation.
This three-dimensional template will be used to generate a field based pharmacophore that Cresset will use to identify small molecule drug-like medicinal chemistry starting points.
Individually the component technologies have been used in over 170 drug discovery projects to date.
“The diversity of the chemical libraries in corporate collections can be quite limited and so the percentage of chemical space represented is small. Isogenica’s peptide libraries are designed to be structurally very diverse and sample a much greater volume of chemical space. Also, in addition to acting as a structural template, there is a high probability of finding binding peptides which have immediate utility as reagents for probing the target biology and supporting the drug development process” commented Rowan Gardner, who is leading the consortia’s Business Development activity.
“By working with diverse populations of binding peptides it is possible to determine which residues are contributing to the binding and infer their active conformations. Coupling Isogenica’s massive screening libraries with Cresset’s small molecule bioisostere discovery tools offer the possibility to bridge biologics directly into small molecule chemistry” added Kevin Mathews, CEO of Isogenica.