New Servier laboratory installed at SOLEIL synchrotron to accelerate the discovery of innovative drugs
A new technological platform created by Servier was inaugurated on June 23rd 2016. Designed in partnership with SOLEIL Synchrotron and NovAliX, the new structural biology laboratory located on the Saclay plateau – Saint-Aubin (France) – aims at accelerating the discovery of innovative medicine.
LBS3 Servier laboratory: the achievement of a unique partnership
As part of its drug discovery programs, Servier has partnered with NovAliX, an SME specializing in biophysics and SOLEIL synchrotron, a French academic research institute. This partnership aims at optimizing Servier’s medical research by creating a high profile technological platform: the LBS3 laboratory. Servier is the first group to set up a permanent laboratory in the synchrotron.
The LBS3 is dedicated to structural and functional studies of biological molecules. It accelerates the identification and characterization of innovative therapeutic molecules, two essential steps in the new drug discovery process.
SOLEIL Synchrotron, forward-looking tool to support research
A synchrotron consists of a particle accelerator that produces light and exploits it to reveal molecules. It is similar to a giant microscope that for the first time reveals to scientists elements previously invisible. It works as follows: light is generated by electrons, which are driven in an accelerator to almost reach the speed of light — slightly less than 300,000 km / second. The electrons are charged with a considerable power of 2.75 billion electron-volts (GeV).
Diagram of machinery of a particle accelerator Copyright © EPSIM 3D/JF Santarelli
These electrons are then injected into the 354 meter circumference storage ring in which they continuously circulate, losing some of their energy through their journey in the form of light radiation — synchrotron radiation. This extremely bright radiation covers a wide range of wavelengths: X-rays, ultraviolet, visible light and infrared. Light comes out of the storage ring through 29 points known as “beamlines”. Each of the beamlines is a laboratory optimised for the study of very different samples such as drug candidates. SOLEIL Synchrotron is a third generation synchrotron. It has the best performing experimental facilities in the world and tools that cover a wide range of activities in many areas. In the health field, SOLEIL has cooperated with a hospital to develop a protocol that can test the quality of a liver graft before implantation. This protocol is now used in clinical and benefited hundreds of patients.
Accelerate drug discovery
While the synchrotron has many areas of expertise, the search for new innovative medicine is at the center of the development of the SOLEIL Synchrotron. The analysis of the beamlines will allow Servier and NovAliX researchers to collect essential information: they will reveal the position of each of the atoms forming the researched molecules.Recorded by specific detectors, the data is then “decrypted” by researchers who can deduce the three-dimensional structure of target proteins involved in diseases.
Information on the interactions between a drug candidate and its therapeutic target is critical to predict its action in the body. Servier’s chemists and pharmacologists will thus be able to find the most suitable and most active drug candidate for the target, and much faster than current techniques available in the laboratory. For medical professionals and patients, this means an accelerated discovery of increasingly effective and better tolerated drugs.