The biotechnology firm CrystaX signs an agreement with Esteve to determine the 3D structure of a pharmacological target
The biotechnology firm CrystaX , located within the CIDEM-PCB Bioincubator of the Barcelona Science Park, has entered into a research contract with the pharmaceutical company Esteve aimed at determining the three-dimensional structure of a neuronal receptor. This receptor is a therapeutic target for drugs being developed by Esteve with applications in neurological diseases.
Determining the receptor’s three-dimensional atomic structure will facilitate the development of drugs by enabling their design and rational optimization to be based on this 3D structure. The main technique used by CrystaX is the crystallography of biological molecules. This involves obtaining small crystals of the pharmacological target and then allowing the drugs to act on them, thus enabling the experimental visualization of how they bind to their biological target; new molecules can then be designed in accordance with the findings.
According to Joan Aymamí, one of the founders of CrystaX, “this agreement is a great boost for us and shows that Catalan pharmaceutical firms recognise the potential of this technology. It is clear that understanding the 3D structure of a pharmacological target represents a competitive advantage in drug design”.
Founded by two researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Polytechnic University of Catalonia) and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciónes Científicas (Spain’s Higher Council for Scientific Research), CrystaX is the first Spanish company to apply X-ray diffraction technology to the discovery and design of new drugs, reducing considerably the amount of time spent on research. This technology makes use of the radiation produced in large machines called synchrotrons and enables molecules to be visualized in extraordinary detail. Although there is currently no such machine in Spain, and therefore the data collection needs to be carried out in other European countries, the go-ahead has been given to build a synchrotron within the Parc Tecnològic del Vallès (Vallès Technology Park). CrystaX expects to become a regular user of this equipment.