U.K. university spin-out Conformetrix will apply platform to determine bioactive conformation of molecules.

Drug discovery and design optimization firm Conformetrix signed its first collaborative deal, with AstraZeneca. Under terms of the agreement the University of Manchester spin-out will apply its NMR-based structure-solving technology across AstraZeneca’s preclinical pipeline to improve lead discovery and hit identification. The platform will also be used to determine the bioactive conformations of naturally occurring ligands as templates for drug libraries. Conformetrix will receive an up-front payment, research funding, and potential milestones from AstraZeneca.

Conformetrix claims its Molgyrate NMR platform can accurately solve the bioactive three-dimensional structures of molecules, independently of other techniques such as x-ray crystallography, within just weeks. The technique analyzes molecules in solution, and can be applied to a range of biological molecules including drug candidates, native peptide ligands, enzyme co-factors, oligonucleotides, and carbohydrates.

The firm is exploiting the platform both for in-house discovery programs focused on identifying and optimizing novel small molecule drug candidates against key targets such as GPCRs and ion channels, as well as through collaborative projects.

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