BioFocus DPI launches new drug discovery platform

By David Robson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Drug discovery

BioFocus DPI, a subsidiary of Galapagos, has launched a new
platform for drug discovery at the Society for Biomolecular
Sciences Annual Conference taking place this week in St Louis.

The Intelligent Screen product will combine BioFocus's existing products into one platform, with the hope of improving the throughput of drug discovery laboratories. Dr Katherine Hilyard, vice president of biological sciences at BioFocus DPI said: "As the name Intelligent Screening implies, we are promoting an intelligence-led approach to discovery biology. This means harnessing our considerable screening experience within a wide range of target classes and disease areas to develop customised, biologically-relevant assays for partners' discovery programs. "This is in contrast with alternative approaches such as running numerous high-volume, high-throughput tests where the likelihood of identifying compounds with the desired biological activity is low." ​ One of the key features of the platform is the use of real, diseased tissue, grown in cultures, to provide a realistic environment for the drug testing. "The mainstay of the platform is the use of physically relevant tissues so the potential drugs can act on the target in its natural background," David Cronk, the director of hit discovery at BioFocus DPI, told "Researchers would typically genetically engineer the target into a cell line, but our approach allows partners to see the entire disease pathway present in the cell​. "The primary screens will be looking for modulation of the disease, but the toxicity is also an important part of the drug discovery pathway​," he added. The Intelligent Screening platform will integrate a number of BioFocus's existing products: the PrimePath, its compound screening service that uses disease-relevant complex assays in human primary cells; its high-throughput and information-rich ion channel screening capabilities; and its natural product screening platform, which is ideal for addressing difficult targets, such as protein-protein interactions. "Our market research revealed that there was a general lack of awareness amongst our customers of all the services we provided. The platform pulls together all the expertise present in the company. It's a re-postioning of several aspects of our business​," says Cronk. The launch of its new integrated is not the only news to have been released by BioFocus DPI over the last few days. The company has recently introduced new compound libraries which will complement the new Intelligent Screening platform. The FieldFocus and SoftFocus libraries, based on advanced molecular modelling, consist of novel drug-like compounds targeted towards kinases and voltage-dependent ion channels. These targets represent two of the most important and commonly studied protein classes for drug discovery. Two new lead-like ThemePair Fragment libraries from BioFocus DPI are also being released.

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