Through a newly-formed research collaboration, Conformetrix, a company focused on optimizing drug discovery and design, will apply its proprietary NMR-based technology across AstraZeneca’s pre-clinical therapeutic pipeline to enhance lead discovery and hit identification.
Conformetrix will receive an undisclosed upfront payment from AZ, as well as research funding and potential milestones as certain targets are met. The discovery program will be managed by a joint AstraZeneca-Conformetrix research team.
Conformetrix’s NMR-based technology determines accurate three-dimensional structures—or conformations—of drug molecules in their bioactive states. This is achieved without the need for traditional structural information regarding the protein target of each drug and provides researchers with valuable information on how development-stage compounds are likely to interact with their targets. This new information will likely improve AZ’s efficiency and quality of the lead identification, lead optimization and candidate selection stages of drug discovery programs. AZ will also use the technology to determine the bioactive conformations of naturally occurring ligands as templates for drug library enhancement and hit identification.
“We believe [Contormetrix’s] technology will provide a powerful addition to our hit identification and lead optimization approaches, supporting our strategic objectives to improve the quality and choice of candidate compounds for our early pipeline,” said Mike Snowden, vice president and head of discovery sciences, AZ.