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The European lead factory—an experiment in collaborative drug discovery

Hugh Laverty, Kristina Maria Orrling, Fabrizio Giordanetto, Magali Poinot, Eckhard Ottow, Ton Wilhelmus Rijnders, Dimitrios Tzalis, Stefan Jaroch

Article ID: 120
Vol 1, Issue 1, 2016, Article identifier:20-33

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The European Lead Factory (ELF) is a unique collaborative public–private partnership aiming to deliver innovative drug discovery starting points and improving the value generated by ultra-High Throughput Screening (uHTS) approaches. Composed of a unique compound collection derived from private pharmaceutical company collections and complemented with new chemistries from a unique public collection, it offers a unique uHTS platform accessible to both private companies and publicly funded researchers. One of the key challenges in setting up ELF has been to balance access to screening results with protecting the value of compounds in the collection. Through an ‘honest data broker’ data management platform and a royalty reward scheme based on achieved milestones, ELF has been able to overcome these challenges. Set up in 2013, it has already accepted 42 targets for screening, submitted by publicly funded researchers, and generated 12 Qualified Hit Lists. In addition, 55,000 new library compounds have been generated by the public partners and added to the 320,000 compounds made available by the companies. Although it faced many challenges in becoming operational, this unique experiment in collaboration is already generating exciting results that will hopefully, eventually lead to better medicines and tools to advance our biological knowledge, and should act as a template for future approaches in the area.


drug discovery; public–private partnership; ultra-high throughput screening; biological targets; chemistry scaffolds; honest data broker; qualified hit list; European Screening Centre; Joint European Compound Collection

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Copyright (c) 2016 Hugh Laverty, Kristina Maria Orrling, Fabrizio Giordanetto, Magali Poinot, Eckhard Ottow, Ton Wilhelmus Rijnders, Dimitrios Tzalis, Stefan Jaroch

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