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Socio-economic legacy: the European Lead Factory

The European Lead Factory is a collaborative public-private partnership that delivers innovative drug discovery starting points. Image via pexels


The European Lead Factory is one of the projects launched in IMI's early days that has been particularly influential in delivering results for universities, small biotechs and large companies across Europe, helping them to identify potential new drug candidates and breathing new life into a range of disease areas.

In 2013, seven large pharmaceutical companies decided to pool compound collections and open them up to academia and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) searching for drug discovery starting points. By the end of the project, the European Lead Factory had successfully composed a library of over 500,000 compounds; crowdsourced 88 disease targets from the scientific community; and delivered close to 200 qualified or even improved hit lists as starting points for new drug discovery programmes, as well as 5 patents, 2 partnering deals, and close to 90 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

Its ongoing success means that the European Lead Factory can indeed advance biological concepts into drug discovery projects that benefit academia, industry and ultimately society.

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