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  August 30,  2004
Volume 82, Number 35
p. 8
 

COMPOUND LIBRARIES

  DISCOVERY PARTNERS WINS NIH CONTRACT
Firm is second to benefit from government medical research initiative
 

MICHAEL MCCOY
   
 
 
8235NOTW5_austin.tifcxd
Austin
NATIONAL HUMAN GENOME RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Pharmaceutical chemistry firm Discovery Partners International (DPI) has won an NIH contract to set up and maintain a repository of small molecules that will support the agency's Roadmap for Medical Research (C&EN, Oct. 6, 2003, page 10).

With about $24 million in NIH funding over a four-year period, DPI will establish a library of up to 1 million compounds at its chemical division in San Francisco. CEO Riccardo Pigliucci says the compounds will be chosen by an NIH panel working in concert with Douglas A. Livingston, DPI's senior vice president for discovery chemistry. DPI will likely make some of the compounds itself and acquire others.

The contract is the second that NIH has awarded to a private company in support of the road map. In June, it picked Kalypsys to supply high-throughput target and pathway screening equipment to the new NIH Chemical Genomics Center being built in Bethesda, Md. That contract is worth as much as $30 million.

Compounds from the DPI repository will be screened in Bethesda and at satellite screening centers to be set up around the country. Resulting data will be deposited in PubChem, a chemical informatics center also being established as part of the road map.

Although compound screening is a well-established drug industry discovery technique, Christopher P. Austin, director of the NIH Chemical Genomics Center, says the government effort will go beyond the well-defined molecular targets that industrial researchers typically focus on.

This could mean more business for the private sector. "We will be getting into parts of the genome that are uncharted," Austin says. "That tells us that we are going to get into chemical and biological space that will require novel technologies. A number of companies have already approached us about evaluating their new technologies."

 
     
  Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2004
 


Related Story
Road Map Charts NIH Course
[C&EN, Oct. 6, 2003]

 
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