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AstraZeneca, Roche to Share Preclinical Research Data

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The global pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Roche agreed to share early-stage drug research data to speed product development and identify candidates with a greater chance of success. Financial aspects of the collaboration were not disclosed.

The two companies will furnish their research data on investigational compounds to a third party, MedChemica, a computational chemistry service in the U.K., which will review the structure of the compounds with a technique called matched molecular pair analysis. AstraZeneca and Roche say they will not divulge confidential features of the compounds in the data they submit.

That review is expected to highlight modifications in the chemistry of the compounds to improve their metabolism, safety, and interactions with the body. With the analysis by MedChemica, the companies aim to identify potential drug candidates with a faster process requiring fewer iterations of testing, synthesis, and design changes.

MedChemica says its process examines the submitted data — normally safety and drug/body interactions tests — on compounds and identifies matched molecular pairs with common structures, defined as having at least a 90 percent overlap. An algorithm performs the molecular matching behind a firewall, separate from the submitting companies.

By incorporating data from multiple companies, says MedChemica, its database can amass large enough quantities of matched pairs to reach statistical confidence levels. The results then are collected in what MedChemica calls a grand rule database that the company says can act as an electronic textbook providing design rules to help develop safer medicines.

AstraZeneca and Roche say the collaboration is open to other large drug companies to add their early-stage drug research, which increases the quality and specificity of the drug design rules generated in this process. MedChemica says it plans to make its grand rule database available for a fee to biotechnology companies, not-for-profit foundations, and universities to test small numbers of compounds with the goal of improving their chemical properties.

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