Launch of drug discovery collaboration with Vernalis plc

October 1, 2013
Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp.

Asahi Kasei Pharma (headquarters: Tokyo, Japan; President: Toshio Asano) announces that it has entered into a drug discovery collaboration with Vernalis plc (headquarters: Winnersh, Berkshire, UK; CEO: Ian Garland), utilizing Vernalis’ fragment and structure-based drug discovery platform against a target in autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis.

The effective incorporation of Vernalis’ extensive expertise of advanced fragment and structure-based drug discovery is expected to greatly enhance Asahi Kasei Pharma’s research and development effort in autoimmune diseases.

About Vernalis

Vernalis is a revenue generating development stage pharmaceutical company with significant expertise in drug development. It has one marketed product, frovatriptan for the acute treatment of migraine, an exclusive licensing agreement to develop and commercialize multiple novel products focused on the US prescription cough cold market as well as seven programs in its development pipeline. Vernalis has also significant expertise in fragment and structure based drug discovery which it leverages to enter into collaborations with larger pharmaceutical companies. For more information about Vernalis, please visit

About fragment-based drug discovery

The drug discovery process generally begins with the basic chemical structure of a lead compound, which will be modified chemically and optimized for pharmacological activity. Fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD) is the strategy to generate lead compounds by screening smaller compounds as the origin. FBDD has attracted attention because of growing recognition of the success of drug development utilizing this technology. Utilizing rational design based on the structural information greatly enhances the power of FBDD to give effective lead compounds, making structure-based drug discovery technology an essential complement to FBDD.

About structure-based drug discovery

Drug molecules exhibit pharmacological activity through action on target proteins. Structure-based drug design is the strategy to design the molecules by understanding the 3D-structures of target proteins and utilizing knowledge of the structures. The 3D-structures of target proteins themselves or complexes with their ligands are analyzed by physicochemical methodologies such as X-ray analysis and NMR techniques, enabling rational design of compounds using computer-aided simulation based on the analytical results.


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