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Optibrium and University of Nottingham Collaborate on Innovative Teaching Programme Repromed Image
Optibrium and University of Nottingham Collaborate on Innovative Teaching Programme

Provides students with the opportunity to design new drug-like molecules targeting fibrotic diseases and malaria with cutting-edge drug discovery software.

Optibrium™, a developer of software for drug discovery, today announced it had entered into a collaboration with the University of Nottingham, a pioneering research institution and university. Optibrium’s StarDrop™ software will be available to a number of 4th year MSci Chemistry project students at the University of Nottingham as part of their training in modern drug discovery to aid in the design of potential new candidate compounds for integrin inhibition in fibrotic diseases and malaria, as part of their collaboration with GSK. Optibrium will also provide teaching on the application of software for drug discovery in support of an initiative to provide students with the most relevant courses for a career in the pharmaceutical industry.

Applying Optibrium’s StarDrop software and its unique drug discovery capabilities will enable the students to, for example, characterise properties for known drugs, understand the structure-activity relationships in existing project data and then design new candidate compounds using industry-leading predictive models. The disease areas students will focus on include fibrotic diseases and malaria.

Fibrotic diseases account for approximately 45% of deaths in the industrialised world, with the increasing need for improved treatment options. The key common element causing fibrosis is the build-up of scar tissue in the extracellular matrix of certain organs, in particular the kidneys, liver, lungs and skin. As part of the design for new candidate drug compounds, students will study integrin inhibition, targeting the disease-causing scar tissue.

Malaria is an infectious disease that is transmitted through the Anopheles mosquito. The World Health Organisation reported in 2016 that around 212 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide, resulting in 429,000 mortalities in 2015. A global target has been set to reduce the incidence and mortality by 90% by 2030. However, current drug treatments are threatened by the emergence of drug resistant strains, increasing the need for novel drugs to treat and block transmission.

Dr Matthew Segall, CEO of Optibrium, commented: “Our partnership with the University of Nottingham gives us the opportunity to engage with students and provide them with access to cutting edge technology in drug discovery. Fibrotic diseases and malaria continue to cause significant mortality and morbidity so we are delighted to help train future medicinal chemists and to work collaboratively to find improved treatment and preventative therapies.”

Mr Thomas McInally, Business Science Fellow in Medicinal Chemistry at the GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratories for Sustainable Chemistry, the University of Nottingham said: “Teaching industry-relevant skills and giving students access to the very latest technologies are critical to develop the next generation of successful drug discovery researchers. Optibrium is supporting us in achieving this by providing access to their world-class StarDrop software and considerable expertise in medicinal chemistry.”