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Image: Chemotargets.

Chemotargets and CRG ally to accelerate the development of new treatments

Drug discovery biotech firm Chemotargets, based in the Barcelona Science Park, and the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) have signed a strategic agreement to accelerate the development of new targeted therapies that respond to unmet clinical needs in different fields including cancer.

The development of new treatments for diseases requires the identification of potential targets – for example proteins or enzymes – that are critical for the onset and progression of the disease. After finding a candidate, researchers need to screen thousands of potential molecules that might interfere with the target and test for their effectiveness and safety. This ‘bench to bedside’ process is expensive and takes many years of research before benefiting patients.

Recent technological advances in artificial intelligence, advanced computing and mass-scale data analysis is accelerating the drug development process, sometimes reducing the timescale of the process by years.

Chemotargets, a global leader in the field, develops computational platforms for the design, optimization and safety evaluation of drugs. The biotech firm’s cutting-edge computational technologies can rapidly design potential new drug candidates for therapeutic targets that are difficult to treat and for which no identified drugs currently exist.

The new partnership will leverage the CRG’s fundamental knowledge on the complexity of life, as well as its expertise in identifying potential new therapeutic targets in emerging fields of cancer biology. 70% of the translational projects making up the portfolio of the CRG’s Technology and Business Development Office (TBDO) focus on the validation of new therapeutic targets for the treatment of different diseases such as cancer, fibrosis, eye diseases, blood diseases or diseases that cause inflammation.

The first project under the agreement involves a new target identified by Dr Isabelle Vernos’ group in the CRG’s Cell and Developmental Biology research programme. The Vernos group has world-leading expertise on fundamental biological processes such as cell division with a focus on the mechanisms of spindle assembly and chromosome segregation fidelity, processes that when dysregulated can be associated with infertility and cancer.

“The CRG’s strengths lie in our profound understanding of fundamental aspects of human biology, our world-leading expertise in the design and engineering of proteins, and our state-of-the-art technological platforms in genomics, proteomics, screening, tissue engineering and organoids. Partnering with a high-profile company like Chemotargets will be a vital boost to leverage our know-how for the benefit of patients in need,” says Dr Luis  Serrano, director of the CRG.

“We welcome this collaboration and look forward to working with the CRG on several levels.  In addition to world-class fundamental biology, the infrastructure to rapidly design medications specific for the phenotype and genotype of both disease and patient in collaboration with the CRG brings a critical new dimension to Chemotargets’ growing internal pipeline,” Dr Scott Boyer, Chemotargets CEO.