First of Its Kind Drug Discovery Platform Launches in the Netherlands

First of Its Kind Drug Discovery Platform Launches in the Netherlands

European Lead Factory to Lead Way on New Drug Research

Pharmaceutical giants Bayer, AstraZeneca, and Merck are part of a new pan-European organization that will work to enhance early drug discovery and development of innovative therapies.

The European Lead Factory, a public-private partnership of 30 international members, was set up under the EU’s Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and will have locations in Leiden, the Netherlands, and Brussels, Belgium. It will allow large pharmaceutical companies to work with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and academic groups to facilitate new drug development.

IMI Executive Director Michael Goldman called the European Lead Factory an “excellent example” of how a public-private partnership can solve healthcare needs.

“For the first time, it will give European researchers unprecedented access to industry chemical collections and facilitate the translation of their findings into actual treatments for patients,” Goldman said.

The seven participating pharmaceutical companies will contribute at least 300,000 “small molecule” chemical compounds from their corporate chemical collections. The academic and SME members will develop an estimated additional 200,000 compounds. This Joint European Compound Collection will be accessible to all project partners and to public organizations offering promising new targets for drug discovery screening.

The European Lead Factory will also include a European Screening Centre, a high-throughput screening facility that will evaluate new compounds in development.

An Innovative Medicines Initiative press release calls the consortium the “first of its kind” and says it will provide public partners with “an industry-like discovery platform to translate cutting edge academic research into high-quality drug lead molecules on a scale and speed that was not possible previously.” The project has an initial five-year budget of €196 million.

Source: Innovative Medicines Initiative

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