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Pharmacia Buys into NeoGenesis' Assay-less Screening Approach

Executive Summary

When other firms are arguing the importance of chemically biased libraries and proteomics firms are retooling their business models to address a lack of adequate funding, NeoGenesis Pharmaceuticals is doubling down its bets on the company's "let the biology be damned" approach to identifying compounds. Money from the firm's existing deal flow covers 70-80% of the company's total cash outlays, including the 40-50% of overall spending attributed to internal drug development projects. NeoGenesis' hook: it takes proteins merely associated with disease and applies its methodologies to pick compounds that show high affinity and selectivity to the target, irrespective of the target's function. The strategy doesn't change the criteria for a good drug, but re-organizes the process to push downstream the need to address complex questions of biology.

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Plexxikon begins the drug discovery process by identifying lead molecules that loosely fit those protein folds, or domains, that are conserved among druggable protein families. These molecular scaffolds may serve repeatedly as a template for designing new chemical entities against a variety of druggable targets within that family. As the number of scaffolds and structural information about them increases, the efficiency of selecting the appropriate one for a given drug target should improve, reducing the time from a hit to an optimized drug lead.

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