Roche and AstraZeneca said today they will share early research data related to drug design with each other and outside organizations, with the goal of speeding up discovery of compounds with better odds of clinical success.
Both pharma giants said they will make selected databases available for study via Matched Molecular Pair Analysis (MMPA). The technology identifies modifications that companies can apply to the structures of their compounds to improve their metabolism, pharmacokinetics, or safety, without divulging confidential information about those structures.
As a result, AstraZeneca and Roche said, MMPA will enable them to identify potential new drug candidates using fewer rounds of design, synthesis, and testing, by giving them opportunities to reapply medicinal chemistry know-how embedded in their combined databases of experimental results.
“We believe that this transparency of small molecule optimization knowledge, in a smart and thoughtful way, could profoundly enhance our ability to design drugs, be of benefit for all parties involved, and ultimately help bring better medicines to patients,” Luca Santarelli, Roche’s head of neuroscience and small molecule research, said in a statement.
AstraZeneca and Roche said other large companies can join the consortium, which according to the statement was initiated by AstraZeneca’s Innovative Medicines and Early Development unit. The consortium comes less than a year after AstraZeneca appointed its current CEO Pascal Soriot, who previously served as CEO of Roche’s pharmaceutical division.
The companies committed themselves to making the MMPA data available to the broader research community, including research foundations, charities, and academic institutions. An intermediary company with MMPA expertise, MedChemica, will serve as intermediary to manage the data sharing.
“We aim to expand this kind of collaboration and eventually go beyond facilitating chemical building blocks into chemical lead hunting and optimization,” Alexander Dossetter, managing director at MedChemica, said in the statement.