Bayer: Supports pharmaceutical research in Europe

[COLOR="#000000"]Bayer HealthCare and Leiden University of The Netherlands will coordinate a newly founded international consortium, dubbed “K4DD” (Kinetics for Drug Discovery), which has been launched to explore a novel concept in modern drug discovery and to tackle a big problem in the development of new drugs. Although successful in early phases of development, many drug candidates fail in clinical studies due to lack of efficacy. The new five-year project will focus on ‘optimizing binding kinetics’ for drug candidates with the goal of improving drug design. The consortium is financially supported with 20 million Euro by Europe’s Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).

There is a clear understanding today that compound binding characteristics to its molecular target (binding kinetics) is of high importance for eventual clinical drug efficacy. Therefore, drug discovery has also focused on the optimization of these drug-target interactions, mostly with respect to affinity and selectivity. However, despite the efforts in finding high-affinity and selective compounds, attrition rates of candidate drugs are still disappointingly high and almost 90% of clinical drug candidates that enter clinical trials still fail.

Dr. Anke Müller-Fahrnow, Vice President and Head of Lead Discovery Berlin at Bayer HealthCare Global Drug Discovery, and Coordinator of the K4DD consortium, comments: “K4DD is an excellent example of a project in which public-private partnerships enable a collaborative research approach to tackle specific drug discovery problems of today and to come up with novel concepts in modern drug discovery. We have assembled a large experienced team of kinetics experts from academic institutions and industrial partners to create a Europe-wide network of complementary capabilities extending far beyond the scope of a traditional ‘one-on-one’ industry-academia collaboration.”

The new concept of ‘target residence time’, the subject of the IMI consortium “K4DD”, represents a novel approach in early drug discovery with the final goal of optimizing drug design. ‘Residence time’ is the time a low-molecular weight (small) molecule remains bound to its target protein and it may be of greater importance for its effect in a patient than its affinity. The consortium was launched to optimize the binding kinetics of each possible drug candidate in the future, i.e. define its ‘kinotype’, next to its affinity and selectivity.

Prof. Ad P. IJzerman, professor of medicinal chemistry at the Leiden/Amsterdam Center for Drug Research of Leiden University, The Netherlands, and the academic lead of the K4DD consortium, is enthusiastic: “We welcome the unique opportunity afforded by this IMI initiative. The broad support from Europe’s pharma companies and the European Union combined with the expertise within our institute and our partners will enable us to achieve the leverage necessary to tackle this complex project. The joint efforts of this consortium will generate a critical mass to employ drug-target interaction data as a basis for improved drug candidate design and hopefully better patient therapy.”[/color]