Press Release: ELF wins award and delivers 50,000 new compounds

Press Release
30 April 2015

The prestigious Bio-IT World Best Practices prize has been granted to the European Lead Factory (ELF) for its Honest Data Broker (HDB) implementation of the ScienceCloud platform from BIOVIA. ELF also announces the synthesis of >50,000 new high quality compounds based on public proposals. These compounds were subsequently included in the Joint European Compound Library (JECL).

Andrew Pannifer from the University of Dundee and Herman van Vlijmen from Janssen led development of the HDB with BIOVIA. Andrew Pannifer said that winning the Best Practices prize in the Knowledge Management category brought official recognition to the ELF project’s achievements in designing and managing a unique Intellectual Property (IP) model: “Our custom implementation of ScienceCloud HDB is a core technology supporting the ELF project. It combines fine-grained permissions with efficient access to the vast range of chemistry and biology data it stores. Herman van Vlijmen said that HDB is a valuable research tool: “One of our key goals at the ELF has been to make sure that good science can be conducted while safeguarding IP interests.”

“Delivering collaboration and analysis capabilities with ScienceCloud in support of ELF’s Honest Data Broker application was a key goal”, said Mathew Hahn, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Dassault Systèmes-BIOVIA. “We are delighted to have won the Bio-IT World award with the ELF – particularly with the judges’ assessment that ‘ScienceCloud is the only platform in its class.’”

50,000 novel compounds added to the JECL

Professor Adam Nelson from the University of Leeds, and Chair of the Consortium's Library Selection Committee, said that new IT tools have also been developed to support the enhancement of the JECL: “The web-based submission tool built by ChemAxon has been instrumental in recruiting innovative chemistry proposals – with 550 library proposals already considered and new proposals coming in every month. Reaching 50,000 compounds successfully synthesised by consortium partners is a tremendous achievement at this stage of the project. ”

“Not only are we now a quarter of the way to our 200,000 public compound target, but the compounds themselves are proving to be very distinctive when compared with typical screening collections. They are much more three-dimensional, and they provide new areas of chemical space to be explored.”

Didier Roche, VP of Strategic Innovation, EDELRIS, said that a special Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Symposium in Print is being published in May, containing 13 articles describing some of the synthetic methods and scaffolds used to expand JECL: “We are seeing very clear evidence that the output of the ELF is allowing us to explore uncharted areas. There are diverse chemical scaffolds, which are not commercially available or represented within the subset of the JECL contributed by the EFPIA companies. The growing JECL is a key asset to enable the identification of compounds that modulate a wide range of novel target classes.”

Irene Norstedt, IMI* Acting Executive Director, said, “The European Lead Factory is a wonderful example of how IMI makes it possible for big pharmaceutical companies and talented scientists in many other organisations to pool their resources, creating a unique and much-needed infrastructure. The European Lead Factory is already helping researchers across Europe to advance their drug discovery programmes, and so will ultimately deliver benefits for patients and society.”

The European Lead Factory was established to promote the discovery of novel lead compounds, suitable for subsequent optimization either to drug candidates or to high‐quality pharmacological tools for the experimental validation of targets. Following a pre-competitive innovation model, the starting point for the JECL was more than 330k compounds contributed from private chemical libraries of seven members of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA): Bayer Pharma, AstraZeneca, Lundbeck, Janssen, Merck KGaA, Sanofi, and UCB.

An additional 200,000 novel compounds for inclusion in the JECL are being developed by participating academic institutions and SMEs in the European Lead Factory. A consortium of 30 partners from industry and academia conducts all project workflows. HDB enables secure sharing of chemistry and biology data, and of triaged compounds that show promising characteristics for research programmes.

About the European Lead Factory

The European Lead Factory is a novel, open-innovation platform for drug discovery, managed by an international consortium of 30 partners and funded under the European Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). It has been designed to offer unrivalled opportunities to non-contractual public and private parties for the discovery of new drug lead molecules.

European academics and SMEs benefit from access to an ‘industry-like’ discovery platform that encourages active participation. The ultimate goal is to address neglected diseases including bacterial infections, psychiatric disorders and oncology.

Total project budget is around €196 million, with €80 million from the European Commission and €91 million of ‘in kind’ contributions from participating members of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). A further €25 million comes from non-EFPIA participants.

High quality biology targets and chemistry scaffolds are being sought to promote cutting-edge research, with the aim of moving quickly to development of high-quality drug lead molecules on an unprecedented scale. Submitters of promising targets can also choose to partner with EFPIA companies, accessing the resources and support needed to progress all the way to drug trials.

To take advantage of this opportunity, or for further information, please continue on our website.

*Innovative Medicines Initiative, Europe's largest public-private partnership (

Project executive partners communicating on behalf of the European Lead Factory:

About Bayer HealthCare

The Bayer Group is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. Bayer HealthCare, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of around EUR 20,0 billion (2014), is one of the world’s leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry and is based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company combines the global activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Medical Care and Pharmaceuticals divisions. Bayer HealthCare’s aim is to discover, develop, manufacture and market products that will improve human and animal health worldwide. Bayer HealthCare has a global workforce of 60,700 employees (Dec 31, 2014) and is represented in more than 100 countries.

More information on Bayer HealthCare:

About TI Pharma

Top Institute Pharma (TI Pharma), a non-profit organization, enables groundbreaking pharmaceutical research for the development of new medicines by establishing and managing international public-private partnerships. Within an open innovation model, scientists, the business world, patient organizations and others collaborate in frontrunner, multidisciplinary research aimed at improving the development of socially valuable medicines.

More information on TI Pharma:

About Taros Chemicals

Taros, an independent and privately owned contract research company based in Dortmund, Germany, has been serving the needs of pharmaceutical, chemical, agrochemical and biotech companies since 1999. More than 8.000 synthesis, research and process chemistry projects have successfully been delivered to the ever growing global customer base. Taros operates state-of-the art lab facilities and employs a team of scientists (65% of whom hold post-graduate degrees in Chemistry) who are committed to supporting the diverse needs of its customers in efficient drug discovery, medicinal chemistry and classical synthetic chemistry. Being committed to supporting our global customer base, we have developed TarosGate®. TarosGate® is a unique software suite putting cost, time and chemistry information at a Project Leader’s finger tips - 24h/7 from anywhere in the world.

More information on Taros Chemicals:

About the Innovative Medicines Initiative

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is the world's largest public-private partnership in health. IMI is improving the environment for pharmaceutical innovation in Europe by engaging and supporting networks of industrial and academic experts in collaborative research projects. The European Union contributes €1 billion to the IMI research programme, and this is matched by in kind contributions worth at least another €1 billion from the member companies of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). The Innovative Medicines Initiative currently supports 40 projects, many of which are already producing impressive results. The projects all address major bottlenecks in drug development, and so will accelerate the development of safer and more effective treatments for patients.

More info on IMI:

Note: Click here for a full list of partners.

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