Kinetics for Drug Discovery K4DD

Building models to improve understanding of drug binding kinetics


Kinetics for Drug Discovery (K4DD) brings together a range of world class scientists within Europe, who jointly address issues that hinder the routine study of drug-target binding kinetics. The ultimate aim of the project is to enable the adoption of drug-target binding kinetics analysis in the drug discovery decision-making process.

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partners from 6 different countries

icon_Money €21 M

from IMI, EFPIA and other partners

About K4DD

The K4DD program started in November 2012. It focuses on three areas of research: understanding the interaction of small drug molecules with their protein targets; developing robust off-the-shelf assays for kinetic binding rates; and building models to improve predictions of the kinetics of drug effects in humans. Newly developed assays, reagents and outcomes are shared among the K4DD partners. Visit the K4DD website for more information.

Promoting and inspiring collaboration and education in science

TI Pharma – now part of Lygature – helped to drive the partnership from the beginning, developing an efficient and well-defined management structure to ensure smooth delivery of the work packages and project goals. From January 2016 onwards, TI Pharma’s support is provided under the Lygature brand. Responsibilities include:

  • Program management. As a member of the Program Management Team, Lygature is responsible for day to day management of K4DD. Activities include planning, organization of meetings, reporting, and internal communication.
  • Communication and dissemination. To facilitate communication and dissemination, Lygature has developed (and maintains) an IT platform that includes a publication approval system to safeguard scientific confidentiality. Lygature also promotes publication of consortium findings in peer-reviewed journals; disseminates results through social media platforms and via press releases; and has built a dedicated K4DD website with both internal and public access areas.
  • Education and training. Together with the Director of Education, Lygature stimulates the education and training of young scientists. Responsibilities include organization of fellow meetings and symposia, dedicated to knowledge sharing and to network and career building. Lygature also initiated a fellow internship program that allows young scientists to gain experience in industry and/or academia.

The collaborative K4DD project brings together scientists from academia and industry who share knowledge and resources to expand our understanding of drug kinetics. Through its multiple roles in the K4DD consortium, Lygature provides the basis for an inspiring scientific climate in which collaboration, education and enrichment of scientific knowledge are key. 

Lygature together with

Project updates

  • K4DD infrared sensor could aid in drug discovery

    Scientists from IMI’s K4DD project have developed an infrared sensor that rapidly reveals how a drug binds to its target and how long that effect lasts. The tool, which could aid in the development of more effective drugs with fewer side effects, is described in a paper in Angewandte Chemie. Many drugs take effect when they attach themselves to a specific protein, thereby blocking or altering its activity. In cases where the drug binding is accompanied by structural changes of the protein, it is important to obtain information about these structural changes. Current methods to assess the nature of these structural changes need weeks or even months to deliver results. 

    The new technique delivers results in just minutes. In the sensor, the target protein is bound to the surface of a crystal, which is rinsed with solutions containing a drug that should attach to the protein. An infrared light is shone through the crystal; any changes to the protein structure caused by the drug are detected by a sensor. The team tested their device on medicines designed to affect the heat shock protein HSP90, which is implicated in a number of diseases including cancer. The device delivered the same results as conventional tests and provided new information on the activity of 11 additional HSP90 inhibitors. The nature and duration of a medicine’s attachment to the target protein can influence how effective a medicine will be, and how often it will need to be taken. The authors of the paper conclude: ‘Particularly when scaled up in an automated screening platform, our method could be used to identify new drug candidates in the early drug-discovery process.’

    Source: IMI: The IMI is a joint initiative from European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). 

  • Multidisciplinary Kinetics for Drug Discovery paper suggests new strategy for drug discovery

    A joint industry/academia study of a cancer target protein reveals unusual relation between binding site flexibility and drug-target lifetime. The results, published in “Nature Communications”, suggest a new strategy for drug discovery. Read more

  • ‘Binding Kinetics: Time is of the essence’ – a successful and inspiring meeting

    In its final month the K4DD consortium gathered for one last time to discuss the importance of drug target binding kinetics in drug discovery. For this final meeting the K4DD consortium opened its doors and invited the scientific community to participate in an open scientific meeting.

    The meeting entitled: 'Binding Kinetics: Time is of the essence' attracted over 180 participants from 18 different countries and was hosted by K4DD coordinator Bayer. The meeting was opened by keynote lecturer Piet van der Graaf (Leiden University/Certara QSP), and consisted of 7 different scientific sessions stretched out over 3 days, hosting almost 30 speakers. Seasoned scientists such as Dave Swinney (iRND3), Peter Tonge (Stony Brook University) Rommie Amaro (UC San Diego) and many other distinguished scientists featured the agenda alongside young K4DD fellows such as Wilbert de Witte (Leiden University) and Elena Segala (Heptares). The momentum which the field of binding kinetics currently has, was emphasized by the great attention the meeting attracted from all different types of stakeholders. Having representatives from 11 different major pharma companies, 22 SMEs and over 30 universities stretching over the entire globe from China, the US and Europe further stressed the importance of binding kinetics and public-private partnerships. This final meeting was a great way to conclude the K4DD project.