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Drug Discovery Expanded initiative will bridge Lilly’s internal, philanthropic R&D efforts

by Ann M. Thayer
October 3, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 40

Eli Lilly & Co. is building on its Internet-enabled approach to innovation by integrating more ways to find and evaluate potential new drugs. The company hopes to both expand its pipeline of drug candidates and find compounds for philanthropic use.

Lilly’s new Open Innovation Drug Discovery platform links its two-year-old Phenotypic Drug Discovery Initiative (PD2) with new Target Drug Discovery (TargetD2) and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) components. Lilly wants the platform to be a route for outside scientists to advance their compounds in development.

Alan D. Palkowitz, Lilly’s vice president of discovery chemistry research and technologies, compares the approach to multiple superhighways that “connect scientists from all over the world with Lilly for the common goal of finding new treatments for diseases where patients are in need and looking for answers, such as cancer, diabetes, and MDR-TB.”

Lilly will continue to use PD2 to screen molecules submitted by outside scientists and identify potential drug candidates that act by novel mechanisms or pathways. The company has added TargetD2 to screen molecules for their interactions with known disease targets. Lilly hands over all results to participating scientists but gets first rights to negotiate collaborations or licenses on successful hits (C&EN, March 7, page 26).

As a bridge to the nonprofit Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative, set up in 2003, Lilly will also test molecules for activity against MDR-TB. Members of the TB initiative include the Infectious Disease Research Institute and the National Institutes of Health.



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