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Fragment Screening

Fragment-based screening or drug discovery (FBDD) has emerged as a powerful and innovative approach in the field of drug development. Unlike traditional methods that involve screening large, complex compounds, FBDD focuses on smaller molecular fragments, typically ranging from 100 to 250 Daltons in size. These fragments serve as starting points for drug design and are systematically assembled to create larger, more complex molecules with enhanced binding affinity and specificity for the target protein. By utilizing smaller fragments, FBDD allows for more efficient exploration of chemical space, enabling researchers to identify key interactions between fragments and target proteins. At Concept Life Sciences, we successfully applied our FBDD screening services to our clients drug discovery projects across multiple biological targets ranging from well characterised bromodomains to complex protein-protein interactions targets.

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A more in-depth view

Biophysical fragment collection

Our team of computational and medicinal chemists have selected  compounds from >50,000 fragments to build a bespoke biophysical fragment collection. Our proprietary collection contains 1,133 highly diverse and  functionalized fragments typically containing between 8 and 16 heavy atoms, which  is ideal for biophysical screening technologies. Unlike many other  collections, the physicochemical properties associated with our biophysical  fragments are in perfect accordance with those of reported fragment Hits.  This, combined with our thorough quality control including a solubility >  1 mM in PBS and a purity > 95%, provides us with a unique and high-quality  collection for FBDD campaigns.

A bespoke biophysical screening platform

Our team of biologists has access to and expertise in state-of-the-art instrumentation for biophysical screening. Our bespoke fragment screening workflow provides means to rapidly select and grow the best fragments:

- First pass screen: waveRAPID® technology to identify primary hits.

- Deselection screen: waveRAPID® using either denatured protein, a control protein or counter-target.

- Confirmation of affinity and determination of binding kinetics: Grating Coupled Interferometry (GCI)-driven multicycle kinetics.

- Orthogonal confirmation of affinity: Differential Scanning Fluorimetry (DSF), MicroScale Thermophoresis (MST) or Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC).

- Determination of binding topologies: Ligand-observed and protein-observed NMR, X-ray, Cryo-EM.

Accelerating the fragment-to-lead process  

Our team of chemistry, biology and ADMET experts deploy a range of cutting-edge technologies to rapidly progress the most promising  fragment hits into high-quality leads including:

- Sparse Array design: rapid exploration of the chemical space around each fragment hit

- Computational modelling: tease out fragment growth and merging opportunities

- Comprehensive biophysics: monitor improvements in affinities, binding kinetics, thermodynamics and evolution in  binding topologies


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