Strasbourg, France, December 15, 2020 – NovAliX, a drug discovery-focused contract research organization (CRO), today announces a €5.3M ($6.4M) investment in its DNA-Encoded Library (DEL) platform, which is set up at NovAliX headquarters as part of an eight-year technological cooperation agreement signed with a global pharmaceutical group. This agreement builds on an initial collaboration around DEL-related activities initiated in 2016.
This new investment will be used to up-scale the DEL production platform; to design and synthesize highly valuable libraries by using new chemoinformatic tools – enabling it to better sample chemical space.
The NovAliX DEL platform, NovA-DEL, represents a superior standard of data confidentiality, integrity and availability. NovA-DEL is an automation and informatics driven solution for the design, production and affinity selection of DELs. It is built on the concept of capturing and tracking the experimental information in the library synthesis and the affinity selection as it is generated. This information is used to direct the laboratory instrumentation, maximizing scientific productivity and enhancing the overall quality of DEL processes. Scientific productivity and DEL quality are further improved by automating sample handling, analytical data gathering and processing tasks.
All these are essential foundations to harness further developments in the flourishing DEL field. For the next-generation DELs, reliability based on data quality is paramount — as artificial intelligence (AI) will play a pivotal role in processing the data generated, for both library design and affinity screening analysis.
With this DEL platform, NovAliX strengthens its R&D capabilities. To support this, the company recently recruited highly regarded medicinal chemists from a number of pharmaceutical companies. They will be tasked with spearheading the DEL-based drug discovery programs, particularly within the anti-infective and oncology fields.
“For over a decade, we have been honing our skills in chemical biology screening techniques, especially with micro-array based surface plasmon resonance, combining them with our strong in-house biophysical capabilities. Going forwards, the DEL platform will be the benchmark in our screening techniques,” said Denis Zeyer, CEO of NovAliX. “This agreement, signed with a major pharmaceutical company, enables us to enter the field with a fully-fledged and automated platform, which we now can offer to our clients.”
As part of the funding, Bpifrance, the French national investment bank, and the Grand Est region, the regional Council in Strasbourg, are providing €2M ($2.4M) to NovAliX — via their research, development and innovation assistance program.
In drug discovery, DNA-encoded libraries represent a novel and robust approach to hit identification that can provide access to a set of diverse chemotypes at a significantly lower cost per point than that of high-throughput screening (HTS).
With the highly integrated and automated DEL platform, NovAliX will engage in DEL-based drug discovery programs to support clients’ internal development and offer partners access to the DEL technology to create their proprietary libraries.
About DNA-Encoded Libraries (DELs)
The concept of encoding chemically synthesized compounds with DNA was first stated more than two decades ago. At that time, genetics pioneer and winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Medicine, Sydney Brenner, along with research chemist Richard Lerner, conceptualized the principle of coding individual chemical transformations with DNA, paving the way for the rapid synthesis and screening of large collections of molecules.
Since the publication of their seminal paper, significant investments in the development of the DEL technology have contributed to enhancing the drug discovery process, especially in early phase discovery undertakings such as target validation and hit identification.
Today, there are an increasing number of DEL-based drug discovery programs. However, technology processes will continue to be developed to take full advantage of the vast array of information generated by DEL.
Founded in 2002 and based in Strasbourg, France, NovAliX is a drug discovery-focused CRO with several unique technologies. It employs 170 researchers, with capabilities combining chemistry and biophysics. NovAliX offers its clients original collaborative models and extensive services within the framework of research programs dedicated to drug discovery. Its ambition is to continue its development by both strengthening its internationalization and extending and integrating the new capabilities essential to the success of its clients’ therapeutic research projects into its technologies and base of expertise.