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C4X Discovery: speeding up drug discovery

Conformetrix: catalysing drug discovery

Spin-out company C4X Discovery (formerly Conformetrix) was created at The University of Manchester with funding from BBSRC, and is helping pharmaceutical companies speed up their drug discovery pipelines and identify potential new drugs. C4X Discovery was valued at £31M when it floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2014.

Data breakout

10-15 years Typical time for a company to develop a new drug to market
£600k C4X Discovery’s turnover in 2014
21 Number of people employed by C4X Discovery in Manchester in 2015

Drug discovery is time-consuming and expensive, costing $2.5Bn per drug in 2014.

The platform technology developed by former BBSRC David Phillips Fellow Dr Andrew Almond and Dr Charles Blundell, the research assistant on Almond’s fellowship grant, is making the process of drug discovery faster, more accurate and cheaper. It uses nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR, the technology behind MRI scanning) data in a novel way to study small molecules in solution. The aim of Almond’s company, C4X Discovery, is for the drug discovery process to take 18-24 months from start to generating a pre-clinical candidate, rather than the usual 4-6 years.

C4X Discovery has signed a research collaboration agreement with global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to use Almond’s technology across their pre-clinical drug discovery programme. C4X Discovery has also worked with other pharmaceutical companies from around the world.

The work was funded by a David Phillips Fellowship, followed by two BBSRC Follow-on Funding grants to refine the technology, and a BBSRC/Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship.

Read the full impact evidence report:

Conformetrix (PDF 293KB)

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