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HAMBURG, GermanyŚSpermatech A/S, a pioneer in the development of male contraceptives, has partnered with Evotec AG, a leader in the discovery and development of small molecule drugs, to identify small molecule therapeutics for a high-throughput screening and lead discovery project.
Spermatech's technologies are based on the discovery of proteins that are crucial for sperm motility. These proteins are only found in mature sperm cells and this exclusive location makes it possible to develop drugs without side effects. Through the study of the physiology of sperm motility, Spermatech has identified biological targets that could be exploited in the development of non-hormonal, reversible male contraceptives.
Evotec will apply its expertise and proprietary technologies in assay development, high throughput screening and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) screening to identify inhibitors of the sperm-specific target protein. The screening will be performed with Evotec's screening library of 250,000 drug-like compounds.
"Evotec's highly diverse compound library is a good starting point to identify such active molecules," says Dr. Mark Ashton, executive vice president of Business Development Services at Evotec. "The additional results from NMR investigations of the hits with the target protein will provide the medicinal chemists with useful information to support subsequent drug design."
Compounds will be identified that reduce sperm motility and will be used in the development of non-hormonal reversible male contraceptives at Spermatech. In addition, compounds that promote target activity may be evaluated as supporters of male fertility.
"We are confident that this will provide an excellent starting point and valuable information to progress the molecules into more advanced stages," says Eirik Naess-Ulseth, chief executive officer at Spermatech.