Jubilant BiosysIndian contract research firm Jubilant Biosys has teamed up with US company BioLeap to offer drug early-stage discovery services which incorporate computational drug design.

The marriage will see BioLeap’s computational fragment-based drug design platform used alongside Jubilant Biosys’ chemistry, biology and crystallography services to create an integrated platform that could speed up lead identification and optimisation and drug candidate selection.

The two companies said that by collaborating they can “offer a highly competitive preclinical drug development platform” across multiple therapeutic areas.

BioLeap’s in silico approaches will be combined with Jubilant’s preclinical expertise, spanning medicinal chemistry, structural biology, high-throughput screening and in vivo services, amongst others.

BioLeap’s software platform is designed to allow very fast modelling of three-dimensional drug structures, for example to generate variants of an existing compound to extend a company’s patent portfolio or to overcome a competitor’s patent position.

The software can be used to model the interaction between small-molecule fragments and biomolecular structures, and even to predict sites with tightly bound waters that cannot be seen using crystallography. BioLeap maintains that it can use its technology to predict the 10 to 20 compound structures in a company's chemical library that have the best binding potential.

Use of computational software to carry out this type of modelling can cut costs as it removes the need for screening, synthesis and assay development work. Back in 2005 it was estimated that an HTS programme could cost $1m per compound, regardless of outcome. With computer models that cost is reduced, and programmes can be completed more quickly.

“Many current screening programs have hit barriers with regards to finding small molecule candidates for viable validated targets because of limitations in chemical diversity,” said BioLeap, adding that its technology “provides a viable solution to this current paradigm.”

Jubilant Biosys is a subsidiary of contract manufacturing company Jubilant Organosys. The parent also has a contract clinical research unit called Jubilant Clinsys.