SPARK Impact investee company to collaborate with AstraZeneca

  • January 16, 2015


One of SPARK Impact’s investee companies has announced a pioneering new research collaboration agreement with AstraZeneca.

Molplex Pharmaceuticals is a drug discovery company which uses advanced artificial intelligence systems aimed at reducing the cost and time to develop effective novel treatments.

This agreement will provide the framework to explore new research approaches to tackle the mechanisms of cancer progression and to translate them into urgently needed effective treatments for cancer patients around the world.

“Despite the progress in cancer research there are still many forms that lack effective treatment,” said Dr David E. Leahy, CEO of Molplex. “This new collaboration – our first with AstraZeneca – will add to our growing portfolio of new potential medicines for controlling and treating multiple forms of cancer, including the more aggressive types. We’re delighted to be embarking on such an important long-term relationship with one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies.”

Bridging the gap between basic research in understanding the causes of cancer and developing new drug-like compounds ready for clinical trials, Molplex will apply its proprietary artificial intelligence systems and advanced laboratory automation to results previously obtained by AstraZeneca’s Oncology Innovative Medicines group.

This research aims to accelerate the pace of new drug discovery and increase the number of new oncology drug candidates generated so that more drug candidates can potentially be thoroughly investigated and brought to market.

Scientists from Molplex and AstraZeneca will collaborate on the research project. Molplex will carry out most of the work in R&D phases at its world class facilities at the BioHub, Alderley Park in Cheshire.  AstraZeneca will have an option to advance promising lead compounds into preclinical and clinical testing.

Under the terms of the agreement, Molplex will receive payments for any resulting compounds that progress through milestones from discovery to market.

Susan Galbraith, Head of the Oncology Innovative Medicines Unit, AstraZeneca, said: “We are pleased to be collaborating with Molplex in the pursuit of new compounds for the treatment of cancer. In particular, we hope that their proprietary ‘Discovery Automation Platform,’ will help to speed discovery of new compounds which we may ultimately be able to develop into treatments for patients with cancer.”

Andy Round, Investment Director at SPARK Impact, which manages the North West Fund for Biomedical, said: “Molplex is excelling in drug discovery which could impact patients right across the globe and we are pleased to have helped support them through funding. This collaboration only

further reinforces the strength of the company and we wish them well for a continued successful future as they strive to change the healthcare industry for good.”