Broad and AstraZeneca Launch Collaboration for Antivirals, Antibacterials

September 10, 2012

By Bio-IT World Staff  

September 10, 2012 | The Broad Institute and AstraZeneca are collaborating on a project to indentify new chemical compounds targeting bacterial and viral infections. Infectious and parasitic diseases are the world’s second-largest leading cause of death and disability according to the World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease report.   

During the two-year collaboration, the two organizations will bring together deep expertise in bacterial genomics and biochemistry with a library of chemical compounds and chemical screening capabilities.  

The chemical library, created at the Broad Institute, comprises 100,000 customized molecules known as Diversity-Oriented Synthesis (DOS) compounds. It is designed to contain molecular shapes and structures not found anywhere else that can hit even the most challenging biological targets. Under the agreement, screening and hit-to-lead chemistry will take place in the Broad's Chemical Biology Platform and AstraZeneca will optimize, develop, and commercialize potential compounds from identified, high-quality leads.  

In a press release, Michael Foley, director of the Broad Institute's Chemical Biology Platform said: "We are thrilled to be working together with AstraZeneca on this project, which is closely aligned with the Broad Institute's mission to propel the understanding and treatment of human disease. The Broad is one of the few places that has made a meaningful investment in new chemistry in the last five years, and we welcome this remarkable opportunity to harness that investment to improve human health."  

In the same jointly-issued press release, Dr. Manos Perros, vice president and head of the AstraZeneca Infection Innovative Medicines Unit said: "We believe new and collaborative approaches between the private and public sectors will help speed the discovery and development of new treatments, particularly for antibiotic-resistant infections. We are very pleased to work hand in hand with the Broad Institute to combine our unique resources and strong histories in innovation, discovery and development to speed advancements in treatments for infections. Through this collaboration we have already identified several new potential projects to pursue."