In September 2001, Bioprojet acquired the Glaxo SmithKline research centre in Saint-Grégoire near Rennes. On this occasion, it brought together researchers from GSK and those from Bioprojet previously housed in university laboratories. Renamed Bioprojet Biotech, the research centre welcomes 45 scientists and technicians skilled in all preclinical research business lines from the designing of novel chemical molecules up to the stages closest to clinical development.
The innovation strategy shall seek to design original medications in classes which have as yet not resulted in therapeutic applications It is based upon a rational process to develop molecules interacting with well identified targets, mostly from the same class of heptahelical receptors. Drug candidates are part of the neurology, gastroenterology, and immunology areas.
The site covers over 10,000 m2, of which nearly half are dedicated to the laboratories. They are equipped with cutting-edge scientific instruments necessary to achieve a wide variety of research and drug preclinical development operations. To meet the regulatory requirement, operations are performed in strict compliance with Good Laboratory Practice, and are subject to periodic checks from the French Agency for the Safety of Health Products.
The research centre comprises four scientific units:
- Biochemistry/molecular biology unit, which develops new research targets by cloning, evaluates chemical synthesis molecules in vitro in multiple automated bioassays, verifies their selectivity, and develops systems to predict adverse effects, such as safety cardiac tests.
- Chemistry unit, which uses the molecular modeling of target proteins to design new molecules (about 5 to 10 per week) from rational synthesis and the activity and selectivity assessment. The unit also prepares industrial synthesis routes of drug candidates selected for development.
- Pharmacology unit, which evaluates the molecules on in vivo models to predict therapeutic effect, prepares and directs regulatory safety toxicology and pharmacology trials that are then conducted in specialist centres;
- Pharmacokinetics unit (in conformity with GLP), which monitors pharmacokinetics, tissue distribution, metabolism and potential interactions of drug candidates at the pre-clinical stage. Checks are carried out a posteriori to verify the doses of medicinal products administered in animals, more particularly in toxicology trials conducted with the help of subcontractors. Lastly, the unit has been developing methods and performs the bioanalytical process of clinical trials.
“Bioprojet only researches molecules that are first in a given pharmacological class, and which constitute a therapeutic innovation“, Jeanne-Marie Lecomte.