Roche and AstraZeneca launch medicinal chemistry data-sharing consortium to further accelerate drug discovery

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Roche and AstraZeneca announced today a new collaboration to share a specific type of early research data related to drug design, which could further accelerate the discovery of high quality compounds with an increased chance of clinical success. Using a dedicated technology (Matched Molecular Pair Analysis, MMPA) modifications will be identified, which companies can apply to their compound structures in order to improve their metabolism, pharmacokinetics or safety, without divulging confidential information about their chemical structures. This gives both companies the opportunity to efficiently reapply useful medicinal chemistry know-how embedded in their combined databases of experimental results, in order to identify potential new drug candidates using fewer rounds of design, synthesis and testing. Both Roche and AstraZeneca will make their selected databases available for this type of joint analysis and are committed to making the data generated available to the broader research community, including research foundations, charities and academia.

Commenting on this collaboration, Luca Santarelli, Head of Neuroscience and Small Molecule Research at Roche, said: “It is unique in the history of our industry that two major players are sharing their know-how at such an early stage of research. We believe that this transparency of small molecule optimization knowledge, in a smart and thoughtful way, could profoundly enhance our ability to design drugs, be of benefit for all parties involved and ultimately help bring better medicines to patients.”

“AstraZeneca has taken multiple steps to both open our compound libraries to those wishing to find exciting new chemistries for early drug discovery and to share compound related datasets that will allow our industry to speed the discovery of new medicines,” said Mike Snowden, head of Discovery Sciences in Innovative Medicines and Early Development (IMED), which initiated the collaboration. “Researching a potential new medicine is a long race that we strive to complete with urgency to fill unmet medical need. We are making these data sets available in the belief that – when paired with findings from other companies through a common platform – we can reach our patients faster with medicines that make a meaningful difference to their lives.”

The data-sharing will be managed through the intermediary company, MedChemica, which has expertise in the key technology of MMPA. The consortium is open to other large companies to add their knowledge thereby gaining access to and enhancing this resource.  More data added to this system will raise the quality and specificity of drug design rules.

Alexander Dossetter, Managing Director at MedChemica said, ‘We congratulate both companies for taking the courageous first step of sharing medicinal chemistry knowledge. We aim to expand this kind of collaboration and eventually go beyond facilitating chemical building blocks into chemical lead hunting and optimization.  The goal is that resources will be better utilized and patients better served.”

About Roche
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, infectious diseases, inflammation, metabolism and neuroscience. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2012 Roche had over 82,000 employees worldwide and invested over 8 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 45.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit www.roche.com.

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit: www.astrazeneca.com

About MedChemica
MedChemica Limited wishes to accelerate drug discovery by acting as a neutral entity that enables the sharing of detailed pharmacokinetic and safety structure activity relationship knowledge and applying it to compound design. MedChemica Limited was formed by scientists who have helped develop MMPA and now intend to employ it to break the knowledge sharing barrier. For more information please visit: www.medchemica.com

Roche Public Affairs, Nutley, NJ

Darien Wilson
Phone: +1 973 562-2232 / e-mail: darien_e.wilson@roche.com

AstraZeneca
Laura Woodin
Phone: +1 610 999 8330 /Email: Laura.Woodin@astrazeneca.com

MedChemica
Email: contact@medchemica.com