The European lead factory—an experiment in collaborative drug discovery

Hugh Laverty, Kristina Maria Orrling, Fabrizio Giordanetto, Magali Poinot, Eckhard Ottow, Ton Wilhelmus Rijnders, Dimitrios Tzalis and Stefan Jaroch

Journal of Medicines Development Sciences (2015)–Volume 1, Issue 1

The European Lead Factory (ELF) is a unique collaborative public–private partnership aiming to deliver innovative drug discovery starting points and improving the value generated by ultra-High Throughput Screening (uHTS) approaches. Composed of a unique compound collection derived from private pharmaceutical company collections and complemented with new chemistries from a unique public collection, it offers a unique uHTS platform accessible to both private companies and publicly funded researchers. One of the key challenges in setting up ELF has been to balance access to screening results with protecting the value of compounds in the collection. Through an ‘honest data broker’ data management platform and a royalty reward scheme based on achieved milestones, ELF has been able to overcome these challenges. Set up in 2013, it has already accepted 42 targets for screening, submitted by publicly funded researchers, and generated 12 Qualified Hit Lists. In addition, 55,000 new library compounds have been generated by the public partners and added to the 320,000 compounds made available by the companies. Although it faced many challenges in becoming operational, this unique experiment in collaboration is already generating exciting results that will hopefully, eventually lead to better medicines and tools to advance our biological knowledge, and should act as a template for future approaches in the area.

Want to know more about this publication?

Contact our scientists

medicinal chemistry

Drug Discovery

We are running our own state-of-the-art Drug Discovery Chemistry facilities in Germany with the option for process research chemistry, upscaling, kilolab production…

performance chemicals

Material Science

We create performance chemicals to enhance new materials, plastics, coatings, dyes & inks, cosmetics, flavors and many more research and industrial applications…


Looks interesting?

As a leading contract research organization in discovery chemistry and custom synthesis, Taros provides comprehensive solutions to meet our clients’ needs from diverse branches and applications

Our experienced chemists practice a pragmatic culture and customer-centric approach in order to exceed project expectations, despite challenges, bridging very narrow timelines. They are trained to consider economic, safety and ecological boundaries and conditions laid out for all stages of the project, starting from the development of synthetic routes to…