The German Centers for Health Research (DZG) have adopted a translational approach, which includes the objective of innovative drug and therapy development. Since structural bottlenecks and missing expertise can be observed to some extent, a concept for a joint, decentralized organizational unit (‘MedChem Expertise Center’ or ‘MedChem Platform’ ) of the DZG has been developed. The unit aims to advance optimization of low-molecular-weight drug candidates for selected projects of the DZG.
It is possible to support both new projects that are still in the formulation stage and existing projects where active compounds have already been discovered. The number of supported projects depends on the individual scope of contributions per project. Only a small part of project work is carried out in the groups of the management team itself; however, a professional coaching infrastructure for drug development can be actively used. Where demand exceeds capacity, we will set priorities in collaboration with the relevant DZG.
- Medicinal chemistry project analysis (druggability assessment, progression plans, patent and competitor analysis, etc.)
- Elaboration of project-specific recommendations (selection of appropriate screening strategy, critical next steps in screening evaluation, suggestions of preferred hit series)
- Placement and support of suitable service providers (synthesis, ADME, scale-up)
- Identification of suitable scientific project partners (scientists with a high level of expertise in specific target or substance classes or indications)
- Practical guidance, where possible (reference compounds, indicative physicochemical or ADME measurements, pilot PK)
- Regular portfolio discussions involving all experts (incl. DZG)
- Active experimental engagement in 1–2 projects per coordinator (50%), e.g. provision of tool compounds, indicative syntheses
Increased opportunities for therapeutic advances in drug-discovery projects and application:
- Use of project-specific best scientific experts in Germany
- Critical mass higher than in individual units within each DZG
- More efficient administrative handling through framework agreements with pre-validated CROs
- Access to experience gained from industrial drug development
- Improved integrability of drug-discovery projects, e.g. regarding application
- Possibility of efficient networking between the DZG, initiation of multilateral projects