Articles

Fragment based drug discovery

A multidisciplinary core team leverages on synergies between biophysical screening methods, structural and synthetic chemistry. The activities have an important role in assessing druggability of new targets, accompanying the High Throughput Screening phase and in 'rescue scenarios' for difficult targets.

In recent years we have developed and patented a number of NMR screening techniques in order to facilitate fragment-based approaches (FBA) and their full integration in the company’s research workflow. Selected smaller populations of compounds are screened in a search for low-affinity fragments. Thanks to their low molecular weight, the fragments have a high binding efficiency even if possessing an affinity which would be considered unattractive for larger molecules (>300 Da). Experimental structure determination of the binding mode often enables to overcome an initial affinity weakness by the design of rational growth towards drug-like molecules with excellent binding efficiency. Using this approach on an ATPase target, the molecular chaperone Hsp90, we recently completed the path from a common molecular fragment to a drug-like compound with favorable ADME-PK properties and efficacy in an in vivo human ovarian cancer xenograft model.

 
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