Merck KGaA (Germany), a leading science and technology company, announced that it has entered into a licensing agreement with Cyclica (Canada) for the use of Ligand Express, a cloud-based in silico proteome screening platform.
Ligand Express is a structure-based and artificial intelligence (AI) augmented proteome screening platform that is being used to uncover novel targets that are modelled to interact with a small molecule. This year-long agreement will enable Merck to quickly and efficiently elucidate mechanisms of action, evaluate safety profiles and explore additional applications for a number of its investigational small molecules, including those identified in highly disease-relevant phenotypic screens.
Traditional development of small molecule therapies focuses on specific, disease-associated protein targets. However, once a drug enters the body, it interacts with dozens, if not hundreds, of proteins before it is eliminated from the body. With Ligand Express, it is possible to capture a unique panoramic view of the proteome for a given small molecule. As the technology can model the ways in which a small molecule will interact with all proteins (of known structure), it can help identify both ‘on-targets’ (interactions that may have a desirable effect on a certain disease), as well as ‘off-targets’ (interactions that may cause an adverse effect).
Cyclica is a Toronto-based biotechnology company that leverages biophysics and artificial intelligence (AI) to make drug discovery faster, safer, and cheaper. The company provides bioinformatics and computational systems biology solutions for the pharmaceutical industry.