ValitaCell and Aptamer Group create drug discovery partnership

Biotechnology companies Aptamer Group and ValitaCell have joined forces to develop a next-generation screening platform for drug development.

Aptamer Group will be working alongside ValitaCell to engineer the platform, in which aptamers – short sequences of DNA or RNA – are used in ValitaCell’s high throughput screening processes. These screening processes can rapidly identify promising molecules that could go on to be developed into new therapeutic drugs.

Aptamers are particularly useful in this process because they can be designed to bind to molecules with specific properties. They can also be engineered to fluoresce when binding takes place, enabling these molecules to be rapidly identified from large batches.

The 20-year deal will see both companies combining their distinctive expertise to deliver these much-needed new drug discovery technologies for the pharmaceutical industry.

For pharmaceutical companies, the drug development process is notoriously time consuming and expensive. Many thousands of synthetic and natural molecules need to be screened to identify a small handful with promising properties that can be taken forward for further testing – and it can take between 12 and 15 years before one new marketable drug emerges from this process.

Modern, high throughput processes can accelerate drug development and the platform being designed by Aptamer Group and ValitaCell offers the next step change in technology development.

Arron Tolley, CEO of Aptamer Group, said: “The platform we are co-developing with ValitaCell will enable the most promising molecules to be identified for use in drug development programmes. This will enable pharmaceutical companies to focus resources and accelerate new drugs into the market.”

Jerry Clifford, CEO of ValitaCell, said: “We are really excited about this partnership with the Aptamer Group, specifically in terms of the potential extension of targets that can be accessed with our platform technology. ValitaCell looks forward to a long and fruitful relationship.”

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