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Lhasa and Optibrium enter research and product development collaboration
CAMBRIDGE & LEEDS, U.K.—Optibrium and Lhasa Ltd., developers of software for small-molecule property prediction, design and optimization, announced April 11 that they have formed a collaborative partnership to research next-generation drug metabolism modeling. Results from the work will be used by both organizations in the development of future products with improved and extended metabolism prediction capabilities.
The development of methods to predict metabolism is an important avenue of research and finds application in the development of drugs, cosmetics, nutritional supplements and agrochemicals. It is necessary to understand a compound’s pharmacokinetics and ensure that it has sufficient exposure at a target to exert its therapeutic effect. In addition to this, it is important to predict the formation of toxic metabolites, which contributes to the high attrition rates experienced in the development of new chemical entities, the imposition of black-box warnings or even the withdrawal of approved pharmaceuticals. Therefore, the ability to identify potential metabolite issues early is of crucial importance to improving the efficiency and safety of the drug discovery process, the partners say.
The research project has appointed Dr. Mario Öeren as senior scientist to lead the study and work with a team of scientists from both Lhasa and Optibrium. A theoretical chemist who has specialized in computational chemistry, Öeren has a Ph.D. in natural sciences from Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia, where he has since worked as a researcher and lecturer. Mario will be based at Optibrium’s headquarters in Cambridge.
“This R&D collaboration with Lhasa builds on a long-standing relationship and is part of our continued investment in the development of novel technologies to improve efficiency in drug discovery,” said Dr. Matt Segall, CEO of Optibrium. “We welcome Mario to the team and look forward to extending the metabolism modelling capabilities within our combined product portfolio for the mutual benefit of Lhasa members and StarDrop users.”
Dr. Chris Barber, director of science at Lhasa, added: “We are excited by the complementary approaches that Lhasa and Optibrium have applied in the past, with Lhasa capitalizing on data donated by its member organizations and Optibrium applying theoretical approaches. Both approaches have their advantages, but combining and applying them across all stages of development should allow us to provide real benefit to the end user.”
In StarDrop, Optibrium says it has developed a comprehensive suite of integrated software with a highly visual and user-friendly interface, enabling a seamless flow from the latest data through to predictive modeling and decision-making regarding the next round of synthesis and research, improving the speed, efficiency and productivity of the drug discovery process. Seamlessly connecting with other models, informatics methods and databases, StarDrop provides user-friendly access to resources, making project management quicker and simpler, according to the company.
Lhasa specializes in the development of transparent in-silico models together with supporting databases in the fields of toxicology, metabolism, degradation and organic synthesis. The company touts itself as a pioneer in the production of knowledge-based systems, and it notes that Meteor Nexus, an expert knowledge-based system for the prediction of metabolism, is used extensively within the pharmaceutical and related industries.