U.K. union has great chemistry

Cresset, Redx Pharma to collaborate on drug discovery for a wide range of therapeutic areas

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WELWYN GARDEN CITY, U.K.—Drug development company RedxPharma and Cresset, which develops software for calculating and comparing themolecular field characteristics of chemical compounds, recently announced thesigning of a drug discovery collaboration. Through the agreement, Redx Pharmagains access to Cresset's publicly available and proprietary computationalchemistry technologies, which will be utilized within the company's portfolioof drug discovery programs. Cresset will also provide consulting services interms 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 consultingservices around the critical areas of library design, compound design, virtualscreening and lead optimization," Dr. Robert Scoffin, CEO of Cresset, said in apress release. "In this case, we will initially be focusing our skills onhelping Redx with their lead candidate selection process, whilst thecollaboration also gives Redx the ability to access our expertise, in a veryflexible 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 ofanalogues and testing of molecules," while Cresset will be responsible forevaluating the candidate molecules and determining the "most appropriatemolecules to be synthesized." This is the first time the two companies haveworked together, Scoffin notes, though Cresset ran a short pilot project forRedx Pharma at the end of last year, which led to "a larger engagement in designingand evaluating candidate molecules for their various discovery projects."
"Redx has a very interesting business model and a refreshingapproach to building value through a mixture of innovation and re-use ofexisting knowledge," says Scoffin. "Their desire to create an efficient andmostly virtual discovery organization, featuring best-of-breed companies inchemistry, biology and computational drug design, matched very well with ourcontinued growth as a leading provider of outsourced drug design solutions andservices."
Redx Pharma's programs utilize several of Cresset'schemistry tools, such as FieldTemplater to provide binding hypotheses andFieldAlign to predict likely biological similarity for sets of molecules indifferent lead series. The company's Switch platform, as explained on thecompany's website, "modifies existing drugs, enabling faster candidateselection and development towards clinical trials for improved, next-generationtherapies." Redx Pharma's pipeline focuses on the development of new compoundsin four main areas, including cardiovascular, influenza, antibiotics andneuropathic pain.
"Cresset is a valuable partner in our drug discoveryprograms," Dr. Neil Murray, CEO of Redx Pharma, said in a press release. "Theirdeep knowledge of computational chemistry and its application to drug discoveryis enabling us to progress multiple projects across a wide range of targetclasses very quickly and cost effectively."
Cresset's Field technology evaluates the activities andproperties of molecules based on their surface properties, rather than 2Dstructure similarity. The technology works to provide "views of the way inwhich ligands interact with proteins, to interrelate compounds from differentchemical series that act at the same protein site, to find novel chemicalseries through virtual screening and to decode Structure Activity Relationshipsby comparing molecules as proteins 'see' them," according to the company'swebsite.
Scoffin says using Cresset's technology in collaboration withRedx Pharma is a combination that will benefit both companies.
"We hope to develop novel drug candidates across a verybroad range of therapeutic targets which can then be put through thedevelopment process in the most appropriate manner for each target," saysScoffin. "Cresset gain excellent knowledge and experience of a wide range oftargets and molecule classes, which feeds back into the further development ofour scientific and technological platforms."

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