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ZoBio - Tools for Fragment Based Drug Discovery White Papers

ZoBio - Tools for Fragment Based Drug Discovery

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Journal of Biomolecular Screening Fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD) has become a widely accepted tool that is complementary to high-throughput screening (HTS) in developing small-molecule inhibitors of pharmaceutical targets. Because a fragment campaign can only be as successful as the hit matter found, it is critical that the first stage of the process be optimized. Here the authors compare the 3 most commonly used methods for hit discovery in FBDD: high concentration screening (HCS), solution ligandobserved nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and surface plasmon resonance (SPR). They selected the commonly used saturation transfer difference (STD) NMR spectroscopy and the proprietary target immobilized NMR screening (TINS) as representative of the array of possible NMR methods. Using a target typical of FBDD campaigns, the authors find that HCS and TINS are the most sensitive to weak interactions. They also find a good correlation between TINS and STD for tighter binding ligands, but the ability of STD to detect ligands with affinity weaker than 1 mM KD is limited. Similarly, they find that SPR detection is most suited to ligands that bind with KD better than 1 mM. However, the good correlation between SPR and potency in a bioassay makes this a good method for hit validation and characterization studies.
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Target Immobilization and NMR Screening of Fragments in Early Drug Discovery Using localized NMR spectroscopy on immobilized targets provides us with a method to simultaneously assess binding of small molecules to two different samples. This Target Immobilized NMR Screening (TINS) has a number of advantages, not least is the requirement for minimal quantities of non-isotopically labeled protein and the applicability to insoluble or unstable targets. The technique is sensitive to binding with KD values in the range of 100 nM to 20 mM, while careful selection of the reference protein reduces the number of false positive hits. This combination ensures a maximal number of valid hits from which to select starting points for hit elaboration projects. Hits can be prioritized using biological assays when appropriate, as well as an array of biophysical techniques. So far a variety of soluble proteins, including kinases, GTPases, viral targets and proteases, as well as a membrane protein, have been successfully screened against our fragment library. Here we illustrate our experiences with a number of examples which emphasize the usefulness of the method in selecting and prioritizing fragment hits for elaboration towards leads.
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