The objective: a collaborative approach to find small molecule candidates

The European Lead Factory was established in 2013 to find valuable lead candidates that were previously inaccessible – compounds that can result in the development of novel treatment options for patients. To achieve this goal, the EU Lead Factory provides a high-quality compound library and the opportunity to screen those compounds against potential drug targets to the broader community.

High-quality compounds

In an unprecedented joint-force approach, seven members of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) decided to give the European research community and each other access to their heavily safe-guarded compound libraries. By contributing over 300,000 compounds to the Joint European Compound Library (JECL), they aim to boost drug discovery within Europe. One of the objectives of the EU Lead Factory is to complement these by another 200,000 innovative compounds, synthesized specifically for the JECL by the Public Chemistry Consortium. To achieve this, library design proposals are being sourced from academic groups and Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) throughout Europe. Together, the EFPIA and Public compound collection will form the unique 500,000-strong JECL.

Screening opportunities

The ultimate deliverable of ELF is to provide the highest quality lead candidates to stimulate drug discovery programmes. To find valuable lead structures, the compounds in the JECL are screened against drug targets by means of ultra-high throughput (uHTS) screening at eight screening centres: at each of the seven participating EFPIA partners, and at the European Screening Centre (ESC). The EU Lead Factory allows the seven EFPIA companies to access the full JECL for a limited number of their screening programmes. In addition, the ESC provides European researchers in- and outside the consortium the unique opportunity to screen their potential drug target against the JECL. Interested researchers can apply for a screening slot in a rolling review and selection process.


The European Lead Factory is based on a partnership of 30 organisations throughout Europe and welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with you to advance drug discovery even further. Within the project, crowd sourcing provides not only a constant flow of innovation but also new opportunities for collaborations between academic groups, SMEs and EFPIA members on both scientific and commercial grounds.

EU Lead Factory - a collaborative approach