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AZ, Conformetrix in Preclinical Pact

April 16, 2012

Deal uses NMR technology to enhance lead discovery, hit identification

AstraZeneca and Conformetrix have signed a research collaboration agreement applying Conformetrix's proprietary NMR-based technology across AZ's preclinical therapeutic pipeline. Under the terms of the two-year collaboration, the technology will also be used to determine the bioactive conformations of naturally occurring ligands as templates for drug library enhancement and hit identification. Financial terms were not disclosed, but in addition to an undisclosed upfront payment, Conformetrix will receive research funding and be eligible for milestones as certain targets are met. 
Conformetrix's technology determines accurate 3-D structures — or conformations — of drug molecules in their bioactive states. This is achieved without the need for traditional structural information regarding the protein target of each drug and provides researchers with valuable information on how development-stage compounds are likely to interact with their targets. This new information should improve the efficiency and quality of the lead identification, lead optimization and candidate selection stages of drug discovery programs.
Conformetrix's chief executive officer, Dr. Sam Williams, said, "Conformetrix is delighted that its first collaborative deal is with AstraZeneca, a company with a strong reputation in innovative science-led R&D. We believe that this deal provides important validation of our technology, which improves the quality and efficiency of drug discovery, reducing the number of molecules needed to find a drug and enhancing the likelihood of clinical success. The Conformetrix team is looking forward to working with our new partner on this exciting programme.'
Mike Snowden, vice president and head of Discovery Sciences at AstraZeneca, said, "We are excited to be working with Conformetrix. We believe their technology will provide a powerful addition to our hit identification and lead optimization approaches, supporting our strategic objectives to improve the quality and choice of candidate compounds for our early pipeline."

The discovery program will be managed by a joint research team.

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