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2 July, 2013 - 08:12 By Tony Quested

AstraZeneca backs another Cambridge biotech

Optibrium CEO, Dr Matthew Segall

AstraZeneca’s impact on the Cambridge medical technology cluster has gone up another notch with yet another deal involving a key player in the segment.

Having decided to bring its global HQ to the UK’s biomedical hotspot and following a string of deals with local companies, AZ has now backed Optibrium, a developer of software for drug discovery.

AstraZeneca has signed an agreement to license Optibrium’s StarDrop™ software. The agreement will see the global deployment of StarDrop and the ADME-QSAR and Auto-Modeller™ modules to AstraZeneca’s researchers.

StarDrop is a software suite that helps to deliver optimally balanced, effective drugs. By quickly highlighting diverse, high-quality compounds, StarDrop dramatically reduces the time it takes to find effective leads and then transform them into candidate drugs, which will have a high probability of success downstream.

StarDrop works by evaluating complex data, which is often uncertain because of experimental variability or predictive error. In scoring this data, the software brings confidence and intuitive simplicity to decision-making: guiding and validating the direction of research projects and which compounds are prioritised.

Its instantly interactive tools then enable researchers to efficiently explore ways to further improve their chemistries.

Dr Matthew Segall, Optibrium’s CEO, said: “We are delighted that AstraZeneca has selected StarDrop to help guide their global drug discovery research efforts and we look forward to collaborating with their scientists to integrate our unique technology with their in-house infrastructure.”

Dr Patrick Barton for AstraZeneca added: “Drug metabolism, together with the prediction of human kinetics and dose, is a multi-objective optimisation problem.

“We seek a compromise between potency, selectivity, pharmacokinetic and toxicological profiles to discover a safe and efficacious drug. Currently, we undertake an empirical approach to optimisation which relies on experience and often leads to inconsistent decision-making – the introduction of StarDrop will improve objective decision making and decrease the timelines of our projects.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Optibrium CEO, Dr Matthew Segall

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