AstraZeneca and Roche to share early clinical trial data

AstraZeneca and Roche have initiated a new medicinal chemistry data-sharing consortium to accelerate drug discovery in a smarter way.

The companies say they will share “a specific type of early research data related to drug design, which could further accelerate the discovery of high quality compounds with an increased chance of clinical success.”

They will be using a dedicated technology (called Matched Molecular Pair Analysis or MMPA) which they can apply to their compound structures in order to improve their metabolism, pharmacokinetics or safety, “without divulging confidential information about their chemical structures.”

The data-sharing process will be handled by an intermediary, MedChemica, which has expertise in the MMPA technology.  The consortium is also open to other large companies “to add their knowledge thereby gaining access to and enhancing this resource,” Roche and AstraZeneca have confirmed, and additional data added to the system “will raise the quality and specificity of drug design rules.”  The businesses also plan to make the data generated from the clinical trials available to the broader research community, including charities and academia.

However, there won’t be complete openness around the clinical trial data, as AstraZeneca and Roche are only planning to share the chemical changes made to the compounds, and the results these changes produced in tests, including the reaction the compounds produced in human cells.  Nevertheless, the agreement is still a substantial loosening of the ties that companies usually place around their intellectual property.

Luca Santarelli, head of neuroscience and small-molecule research at Roche, commented that the agreement is “unique in the history of our industry,” with two large companies “sharing their know-how at such an early stage of research.”  Luca added that “transparency of small molecule optimisation knowledge, in a smart and thoughtful way, could profoundly enhance our ability to design drugs.”

Mike Snowden, head of discovery sciences in innovative medicines and early development, the AstraZeneca unit which initiated the collaboration, noted that AstraZeneca “has taken multiple steps to both open our compound libraries to those wishing to find exciting new chemistries for early drug discovery and to share compound related datasets that will allow our industry to speed the discovery of new medicines.”

He added that researching a potential new drug “is a long race that we strive to complete with urgency to fill unmet medical need.  We are making these data sets available in the belief that – when paired with findings from other companies through a common platform – we can reach our patients faster with medicines that make a meaningful difference.”

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