AstraZeneca, Broad Institute partner on discovery of antibacterial and antiviral agents

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 09:09 AM

AstraZeneca and the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass., have formed a collaboration to identify new chemical compounds targeting bacterial and viral infections that could speed the development of new antibacterial and antiviral drugs.

According to the World Health Organization's “Global Burden of Disease” report, infectious and parasitic diseases are the world's second-largest leading cause of death and disability, and the growth of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" that evade existing treatments is on the rise. However, only two new classes of antibiotics have been introduced to the market in the past 30 years.

Under the two-year collaboration, AstraZeneca and the Broad Institute will work together to address this challenge by bringing together expertise in bacterial genomics and biochemistry with a unique collection of chemical compounds and chemical screening capabilities. Screening and hit-to-lead chemistry will take place in the Broad's chemical biology platform and AstraZeneca will optimize, develop and commercialize potential compounds from identified, high-quality leads.

The chemical library, created at the Broad Institute, comprises 100,000 customized molecules known as diversity-oriented synthesis (DOS) compounds. It is designed to contain molecular shapes and structures not found anywhere else that can hit even the most challenging biological targets.

"We believe new and collaborative approaches between the private and public sectors will help speed the discovery and development of new treatments, particularly for antibiotic-resistant infections,” said Dr. Manos Perros, vice president and head of the infection innovative medicines unit, AstraZeneca. “Through this collaboration we have already identified several new potential projects to pursue."

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