UK company BioFocus has entered into an agreement with Switzerland's Roche for the design of a several custom compound libraries for use in the latter's drug discovery efforts.
This is the third agreement between the companies, with BioFocus already providing lead optimisation and custom library synthesis for the Swiss group. Under the terms of this new contract, BioFocus will supply Roche with SoftFocus kinase compounds and apply its expertise in kinase library design to develop additional chemistries for Roche's global discovery programmes.
BioFocus started operations in 1997 as a medicinal chemistry service provider, and only latterly made a foray into the compound library business. It has taken a focused route to the generation of libraries, using knowledge and experience for compound selection rather than relying on the "scattergun" approach used by some of its competitors. The idea is that the libraries have higher hit rates and a better chance of throwing out a successful drug candidate.
The SoftFocus technology involves developing a scaffold molecule that binds to a desired target, and then adding in the other parts of the molecule .This should create a series of compounds, many of which will bind to the target but which will also have differing potencies and characteristics.
The UK company believe that kinases are emerging as important targets in a number of diseases, and compounds which target them and could act as drug candidates for inflammatory conditions and cancer. It has also developed drug discovery capabilities in ion channels and G protein-coupled receptors.