KIEV, Ukraine & COPENHAGEN, Denmark—Enamine Ltd., a chemical company, producer of building blocks and screening libraries, and Danish biotech company Pcovery have announced that they have extended their collaboration for the discovery of new drugs for the treatment of invasive fungal infections and platform technology development.
Willam Dalby-Brown, chief operating officer at Pcovery, tells DDNews: “Pcovery is in need of highly skilled organic synthesis chemists who can deliver on the stakeholder expectation of moving the antifungal program forward rapidly. The basis of the relationship is the recognition of an established and well-reputed company. The extension builds on an already-established collaboration.”
“Like we frequently experience with new small biotechnology companies and drug discovery startups, Pcovery approached us back in 2010 for hit-finding activities, when acquiring a library of 10,000 diverse screening compounds for hit finding,” recalls Michael Bossert, head of strategic alliances at Enamine. “Our resulting collaboration started then in medicinal chemistry in 2014, when Pcovery needed synthesis of small focus libraries based on the scaffolds produced by its other CROs.”
Since 2014, Enamine’s role has gradually evolved from a hit-finding library provider to a trusted partner in the field of broadly applicable chemistry services. A rigorous evaluation and selection process carried out at Pcovery identified Enamine as a reliable partner that provides state-of-the-art chemistry solutions at any level, from synthesis of small-compound libraries and singletons through route scouting and process optimization as well as scale-up of leads.
Under the terms of the current collaboration, Pcovery’s dedicated full-time equivalent (FTE) team benefits from instant access to Enamine’s inventory of building blocks, a collection that has been recognized for its impeccable structural quality and significant innovative components, the collaborators say. All project reagent costs are covered by the FTE rate in place. While Enamine’s experts actively participate in new composition of matter generation, the intellectual property (IP) produced in the collaboration belongs solely to Pcovery.
“Enamine is following the outsourcing strategy of its various customers with whom the company decides to engage. In the deal with Pcovery, we can consider that our offered rates for our services and products are thoroughly researched and defined to reach a compensation level for the work done, which is satisfying both parties while also allowing Enamine to remain profitable,” Bossert says.
Asked about the collaboration, Dalby-Brown commented, “With a plethora of CROs in the market, finding the right partner remains a challenge. Headcount is not everything; chemists’ skills, creativity, experience and access to the impressive stock of contemporary building blocks were the most important factors that ultimately led us to choose Enamine. Their remarkable work in synthesizing their collection of building blocks now helps us to accelerate our drug discovery projects. We can pick from their stock building blocks, whereas sourcing in other ways would incur both time and cost. Our strategic partner Enamine is demonstrating a key role in Pcovery’s successful path towards discovery and development of novel anti-infective drug candidates, with a particularly strong potential for the formation of a defensive IP position.”
“We are delighted to continue our collaboration with Pcovery and advance to the company’s next level,” added Bossert. “First recognition of our expertise came with our offering of library synthesis using our end-capping building blocks and scaffolds received from a CRO that had been working with Pcovery previously. A relationship built on trust was rapidly established with Pcovery, who was further convinced via our high-level chemistry service, seamless collaboration communication and positive work environment stimulating fruitful ideas. This collaboration is another validation of Enamine’s cost-effective benefit for early drug discovery activities.”
Enamine has synthesized and put in stock already over 120,000 building blocks, and Bossert says, “This is the largest stock collection in the world. Synthesis of each of them required a lot of research, creativity and know-how from our chemists. The reward is huge. Now when these compact research-encoded modules are in stock, our clients can just take them from the shelf and immediately use in synthesis. Usage of the building blocks not only accelerates drug discovery, but also enables it, creating a new ecosystem. Enamine is proud to largely contribute to it.”
When asked about future goals, Dalby-Brown replied, “The goal is to develop a new antifungal compound for invasive fungal infections, a life-threatening situation which kills more than 1.5 million worldwide each year. Pcovery tests all the compounds prepared at Enamine in a range of biological assays in order to do the final ADMET optimization before a clinical candidate is nominated, expectedly one to 1.5 years from now.”