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U.K. union has great chemistry
October 2011
by Kelsey Kaustinen  |  Email the author


WELWYN GARDEN CITY, U.K.óDrug development company Redx Pharma and Cresset, which develops software for calculating and comparing the molecular field characteristics of chemical compounds, recently announced the signing of a drug discovery collaboration. Through the agreement, Redx Pharma gains access to Cresset's publicly available and proprietary computational chemistry technologies, which will be utilized within the company's portfolio of drug discovery programs. Cresset will also provide consulting services in terms of candidate selection across a range of therapeutic areas and targets. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.  
"Cresset has developed an extensive range of consulting services around the critical areas of library design, compound design, virtual screening and lead optimization," Dr. Robert Scoffin, CEO of Cresset, said in a press release. "In this case, we will initially be focusing our skills on helping Redx with their lead candidate selection process, whilst the collaboration also gives Redx the ability to access our expertise, in a very flexible manner, across the full range of computational drug discovery services."
According to Scoffin, Redx Pharma will be responsible for "setting overall project direction, selection of targets, synthesis of analogues and testing of molecules," while Cresset will be responsible for evaluating the candidate molecules and determining the "most appropriate molecules to be synthesized." This is the first time the two companies have worked together, Scoffin notes, though Cresset ran a short pilot project for Redx Pharma at the end of last year, which led to "a larger engagement in designing and evaluating candidate molecules for their various discovery projects."
"Redx has a very interesting business model and a refreshing approach to building value through a mixture of innovation and re-use of existing knowledge," says Scoffin. "Their desire to create an efficient and mostly virtual discovery organization, featuring best-of-breed companies in chemistry, biology and computational drug design, matched very well with our continued growth as a leading provider of outsourced drug design solutions and services."
Redx Pharma's programs utilize several of Cresset's chemistry tools, such as FieldTemplater to provide binding hypotheses and FieldAlign to predict likely biological similarity for sets of molecules in different lead series. The company's Switch platform, as explained on the company's website, "modifies existing drugs, enabling faster candidate selection and development towards clinical trials for improved, next-generation therapies." Redx Pharma's pipeline focuses on the development of new compounds in four main areas, including cardiovascular, influenza, antibiotics and neuropathic pain.  
"Cresset is a valuable partner in our drug discovery programs," Dr. Neil Murray, CEO of Redx Pharma, said in a press release. "Their deep knowledge of computational chemistry and its application to drug discovery is enabling us to progress multiple projects across a wide range of target classes very quickly and cost effectively."
Cresset's Field technology evaluates the activities and properties of molecules based on their surface properties, rather than 2D structure similarity. The technology works to provide "views of the way in which ligands interact with proteins, to interrelate compounds from different chemical series that act at the same protein site, to find novel chemical series through virtual screening and to decode Structure Activity Relationships by comparing molecules as proteins 'see' them," according to the company's website. Scoffin says using Cresset's technology in collaboration with Redx Pharma is a combination that will benefit both companies.
"We hope to develop novel drug candidates across a very broad range of therapeutic targets which can then be put through the development process in the most appropriate manner for each target," says Scoffin. "Cresset gain excellent knowledge and experience of a wide range of targets and molecule classes, which feeds back into the further development of our scientific and technological platforms."
Code: E101108



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