Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a leading global technology services company, announced that it has entered into an agreement with Congenia, a biotechnology start-up promoted by Italy's Genextra SpAgroup to provide advanced fragment-based lead optimization solutions for drug discovery.
The agreement is the first of its kind for an IT company. The Life Sciences R&D Division of TCS will work on "P66" - a target protein identified by Congenia as a key protein involved in several age-related diseases – and will develop optimized drug leads based on this.
TCS will be using modules of its own product "Bio-Suite" to work on the target protein. It will screen a "virtual fragment library" of tens of thousands of potential lead molecules to predict which of these might bind themselves to the target protein and thereby inhibit its function. TCS will also produce a first-cut analysis of the ADMET (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, Excretion, and Toxicity) profile of the lead molecules.
The optimized lead molecules produced by TCS will be further developed by Congenia through animal trials and eventually human clinical trials. The work will be executed in the Advanced Technology Centre of TCS, located in the Southern Indian city of Hyderabad, where the bulk of TCS' life sciences
R&D activities are located.
A part of the wet chemistry and crystallography work will be carried out by TCS' sub-contractor, Altiora Ventures in Israel. The biological assays will be carried out by Congenia in Milan, Italy. The contract has a duration of 18 months, and incorporates payments based on the number of optimized lead molecules delivered.
"The Life Science sector has been identified as one of TCS' growth engines for the future. We have invested in developing competencies and research collaborations over the last few years and it is good to see that our investments are yielding significant results," said Mr. S. Ramadorai, CEO
and MD of TCS.
Dr. M. Vidyasagar, Executive Vice President and head of TCS' Advanced Technology Centre, Hyderabad, which houses the Life Sciences R&D Division along with other activities, said: "This is a historic occasion for TCS andthe first contract where the deliverable is not software code, but a set of
molecules. We are proud to partner with the Genextra group, a bio-tech pioneer in Italy."
"TCS is committed to putting in place a complete suite of offerings in the life sciences segment, spanning genomics and proteomics, database integration, drug discovery, and preventive healthcare," Dr. Vidyasagar added.
Mr. Paolo Fundaro, CEO of Congenia said: "TCS' competencies in bio-chemistry and computation techniques offer a unique value proposition. Using thesetechniques, we expect to obtain good lead candidates for a drug forpre-clinical trials and save time in R&D." "In our discussions with TCS, we
found great flexibility during the entire program design and real understanding of our needs," Mr. Fundaro added.
Dr. Saverio Minucci, Scientific Director of Congenia said: "We found TCS to be very innovative when we started talking to them. We considered other alternatives but we liked the TCS team and liked whom we met right from the beginning."
For further information contact:
Sanjay Chaudhary / Deepakshi Jha
Vaishnavi Corporate Communications