Fragment library supports screen-based drug discovery platform

Thermo Fisher Scientific
Tuesday, 30 March, 2010

The Nordlund Centre for Biomedical Structural Biology at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore has purchased Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Maybridge Ro3 500 fragment library to support the establishment of a fragment screening-based drug discovery platform.

Nordlund will use this ‘off-the-shelf’ set of 500 pharmacophorically rich Maybridge compounds as a benchmark fragment library to optimise structure-based screening methods for a diverse set of drug candidates. The ultimate objective of the project is to understand the optimal screening protocols for different protein target families and to publish these results for the scientific and drug discovery community.

The new Nordlund Centre, based in the Biopolis hub in Singapore, is headed by Professor Pär Nordlund, a renowned structural biologist and visiting professor from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Through this comparative study, the Nordlund team will establish a platform for the efficient generation of chemical probes using fragment-based methods. The six- to nine-month study will guide researchers and the entire industry on the preferred fragment screening technique for several protein classes.

The study includes seven protein classes, including HsP90. The group will assess fragment binding in each protein class using a range of standard techniques, including ITC, NMR, SPR, DSF and X-ray crystallography.

“We selected the Maybridge Fragment library as a benchmark for our comparative study as it is a globally renowned and industry recognised set of diverse and high-quality compounds,” said Dr Andreas Larsson, project leader within the Nordlund group. “Of particular interest to us was the validated aqueous solubility data provided by Maybridge scientists, where solubility checks up to five mMol in aqueous phosphate buffer have been measured.”

The Nordlund team features individuals from both academia and the pharmaceutical industry with a broad range of competencies. In addition to fragment-based lead generation, these competencies include: structural biology, high-throughput protein production and crystallography, membrane protein production and biophysical characterisation. Such competencies, in addition to the exceptional protein production facilities at NTU, make this an ideal group for undertaking such a broad-reaching comparative study.

This study also demonstrates the growing interest in fragment-based lead design (FBLD) as a means of accelerating many drug design programs by complementing more traditional high-throughput or low-content assay screening methods. The Maybridge Ro3 500 Fragment Library, selected from the original Maybridge ‘Rule-of-Three’ (Ro3) compliant set, is designed to be a convenient, cost-effective entry point to fragment screening.

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