Advancing cheminformatics for novel therapies: an RSC partnership with India

29 January 2013

The Royal Society of Chemistry has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in India to raise awareness of the importance of cheminformatics - or eScience - in accelerating the discovery of novel therapies for neglected diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria. 

The RSC will work in partnership with India's CSIR on an Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) initiative for the next three years.

The initiative aims to advance the discipline of cheminformatics to find novel, faster-acting and more effective treatments for tuberculosis and malaria. 

It will focus on building a joint online repository of real and virtual molecular structures, along with developing free-to-use software tools for drug discovery and development.

RSC Immediate Past President, Professor David Phillips, is in India to announce the MoU. 

He said: "Through this agreement, the RSC and CSIR are responding to the challenge of 'lost data' - that is the 90% of research output that never gets published and yet is of enormous potential value to the chemical community. 

"The importance of cheminformatics, or eScience, in addressing this challenge cannot be underestimated.

"We will work with CSIR to develop focus workshops and conferences to build links between experts and leaders. We also plan to jointly develop free-to-use software tools especially for chemical structure-activity relationship analysis.

"The RSC and CSIR will also work together on a 'Developing Talent on Drug Discovery' workstream. The aim of this is to examine the role of industry/academia collaboration in drug discovery and the significance of an effective chemistry-biology interface."

Professor Samir K Brahmachari, Director General CSIR and Chief Mentor OSDD underlined the importance of this collaboration for finding new drugs for neglected diseases like tuberculosis (TB). 

He said: "What we cannot do alone, we with complementary skills, need to work together. Finding new drugs for TB is a major challenge. We are joining hands to find new chemical entities which could be potential anti-TB drugs."

India's Minister for Science & Technology, Shri. Jaipal Reddy, stressed the importance of scientific institutions working towards finding solutions for problems that predominantly affect the poorer sections of society, including the need for new drugs for tuberculosis, malaria and leishmaniasis.

He said: "The RSC has undoubted strength in the field of chemistry. This strength will now be coupled with the strengths of the OSDD programme, deployed to improve innovation for neglected diseases". 

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