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UCB signs research deal for novel neuroscience drugs

Partners with structural biology company ConfometRx

UCB sign 

UCB has teamed up with a structural biology company for a drug discovery pact that it hopes will yield novel medicines to address unmet medical needs in neuroscience.

The Belgium-based biopharma firm is collaborating with ConfometRx, a California-based company that was co-founded by Stanford University professor and Nobel Prize winner Brian Kobilka.

The two-year multi-target agreement will see UCB and ConfometRx focus on G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) modulation and its use in the design of differentiated drugs.

GPCRs are the largest family of signalling proteins in the human genome and, being involved in virtually all physiological processes, represent the single largest target class for medicines on the market.

Ismail Kola, executive vice president and president of NewMedicines at UCB, said: “GPCR crystallisation remains a challenge and requires state-of-the-art technologies as well as expertise.

“Professor Brian Kobilka is the first to have succeeded in crystallising a GPCR target in the active state and was awarded the chemistry Nobel prize for his work in the field of GPCR structural biology. 

“The collaboration with ConfometRx is another example of UCB's strategies at work where we are continuing to build super-networks of innovation that are aimed at creating superior and sustainable value for patients.”

A branch of molecular biology, biochemistry and biophysics, structural biology is concerned with the molecular structure of biological macromolecules, in particular proteins and nucleic acids.

Interest has been building in ConformetRx's structural biology approach, and the company has signed up a number of pharma partners in recent years, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novo Nordisk and Lundbeck.

The terms of its latest agreement with UCB, include an upfront payment, research funding and success-based milestones, but details were not disclosed.

21st February 2013

From: Research

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