The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), a nonprofit biomedical research institute, has announced a research collaboration and license agreement with Pfizer to pioneer new DNA-encoded library (DEL) technology, including new synthetic chemistry for the creation of next-generation DELs, a potentially transformative technology for early stage drug discovery research.
Under the terms of the collaboration, Pfizer will pay a technology access fee and thereby gain access to innovative chemical synthesis technology developed at TSRI. Members of the TSRI chemistry department—Professors Phil Baran, Ph.D., Dale Boger, Ph.D., Jin-Quan Yu, Ph.D., K. Barry Sharpless, Ph.D., and others—will work alongside Pfizer scientists to adapt these chemical methods for use in creating DELs, which require stringent processes that are tolerant of the delicate DNA backbone. TSRI and Pfizer may choose to expand the scope of the joint research to include other technologies relevant for enabling DEL-based drug discovery. Financial terms of the agreement are not disclosed.
"TSRI's chemistry department is known for its rich history of innovation, and that has never been more true than today," said TSRI President Peter Schultz, Ph.D. "We are delighted to partner with Pfizer in an area where pioneering chemical methodologies can have a significant impact on the discovery of new medicines for unmet medical needs."
In contrast to conventional drug screening where a few million small molecules are evaluated in biological systems, DEL screening uses DNA-based "barcodes" to survey billions of small molecules, potentially increasing the ability of researchers to identify promising chemical leads. While this technology was originally conceived at TSRI by Richard Lerner, M.D., and Sydney Brenner, Ph.D., in the early 1990s, the reduction to practice has taken decades and required technological advances in DNA sequencing and informatics in order to be more fully realized.
"We look forward to continuing our longtime relationship with TSRI," said Tony Wood, Senior Vice President and Head of Medicinal Sciences, Pfizer. "We hope that this new collaboration will contribute to the creation of novel chemistries that can be used by Pfizer to prepare unique libraries for screening which, together with our parallel medicinal chemistry expertise, will have the potential to help us accelerate the discovery of new medicines for patients."