The Medicines Discovery Catapult has brokered a deal between Antimicrobial Discovery Solutions and the University of Dundee to create a neutral space for research into new antimicrobial targets.

This agreement enables the University’s Drug Discovery Unit to provide its unique chemistry for testing in ADS’s unique assays in a ‘double-blind’ manner, where only the Catapult is aware of which chemistry is active.

This means that any intellectual property negotiations between the University and ADS will only be required after activity is confirmed and a promising lead is uncovered.

Essentially, the deal allows the combination of new chemistry and new biology “without the high barrier of contract negotiations based on what may be discovered,” the Catapult noted, adding that any commercial conversation will only occur “in the event of success and where each party has something tangible to be gained”.

“Drug discovery research is high risk, expensive and can be delayed by contract negotiations that take place before either party knows if there is value in their collaboration. This can often prevent research from happening altogether,” said Chris Molloy, chief executive of the Medicines Discovery Catapult, explaining the rationale behind the move.

“This agreement moves the intellectual property discussion to the right place and brings new collaborators together. We’re creating a new space that frees innovation, enables R&D to be done and incentivises all parties to make a fair deal if there is real value demonstrated. All of this helps to bring new medicines to patients faster.”

The Drug Discovery Unit at the University of Dundee will supply around 20,000 chemical compounds, which The Catapult will test against patented assays developed by ADS.

The screen will identify promising compounds on a target of interest, which may have the potential to become effective drugs.