BUDAPEST, Hungary and BRUSSELS, Belgium and UTRECHT, The Netherlands, March 8, 2017
Approximately four years ago ChemAxon, a leading company in chemistry and biology software solutions and consultancy services, and the European Lead Factory (ELF), in a public-private-partnership supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) set to boost collaborative European drug discovery and translational research, announced their cooperation (2013 article). ChemAxon as an ELF partner undertook to build a web portal along the concepts developed by the University of Leeds, Taros Chemicals, and AstraZeneca. The portal is hosted and managed by ChemAxon, using JChem Base search technology, the Marvin JS editor, various fingerprints and physico-chemical property predictors. The portal serves as a core element in crowdsourcing innovative ideas and synthetic schemes of ‘drug-like’ chemical scaffolds. Its main task is to collect library designs submitted by the public, as well as by members of the ELF consortium, and to enable the ELF experts to score, analyze and evaluate the submitted proposals that ultimately synthesize.
The ELF project is considered to be a big success. Almost 600 library designs have so far been approved, and close to 1000 have been assessed. More than 140,000 novel compounds, out of the 200,000 prospected compounds for the Public Compound Collection have been synthesized, which means that the ELF compound collection grows daily by approximately 250 novel compounds to eventually constitute the 500,000 Joint European Compound Library (JECL). Besides the quantity, the quality has been proven by promising outcomes from the ELF screening and biological testing. The synthesized collection has been found active against several classes of disease-related biological targets, and shows high biological specificity.
“The ELF project is a very important and challenging consultancy development for ChemAxon” – Ferenc Csizmadia, CEO of ChemAxon says. “We have a great experience working with large pharma companies, academic institutions, and also with small to medium enterprises (SMEs). This proved to be a great asset when we started to build the web portal for ELF. All of these segments play an equally important role in the success of the project – Yet all of them have a slightly different use case and need, which we’ve already learned working with them on our own solutions.”
Prof. Adam Nelson, Chair of the Library Selection Committee at ELF, continues; “The web portal has been instrumental to the success of the overall project. The portal supports the entire process, it has supported chemists in the design of libraries that meet the ELF criteria; and in addition enabled the library selection committee to assess around 1000 library proposals efficiently and fairly, it has ensured transparent feedback after assessment. The public compound collection is highly distinctive from other small molecule screening collections. The web portal, developed by ChemAxon, played a key role in this achievement.”
Dimitrios Tzalis from Taros Chemicals, Head of Chemistry at ELF added; “As a member of the Project Executive of the ELF, I’m delighted to say that ELF has been recognized as one of the most successful EU-supported early drug discovery activities. ChemAxon, as an ELF partner was instrumental in creating ELF’s chemistry crowdsourcing web platform; and I have found them to be very proficient and flexible as partners in this. They really strive to improve the system based on both the technological and the scientific needs and feedback received.”
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About European Lead Factory
The European Lead Factory is a unique, collaborative platform for early drug discovery, supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). It offers unrivalled opportunities to any European academic or SME working in any therapeutic area for the discovery of new diagnostic or drug lead molecules; compounds that can result in the development of novel treatment options for patients. To this end, the European Lead Factory provides a high-quality compound library, industry-standard screening facilities and drug discovery expertise. The European Lead Factory was launched in 2013 and is managed by an international consortium of 30 partners.