Discovery Services




The Chemistry group at Icagen has two main objectives: One is to support exploration and optimization of chemical series to ensure their fast progression to the next pipeline milestone, namely to the Lead or the Drug Candidate status (Phase I). Such support involves a broad expertise in Medicinal Chemistry and multi-parametric optimization of compound properties. The second objective is focused on building and enhancing Icagen’s chemical estate of small molecules. Such repository of diverse chemical modalities supports future drug discovery campaigns that originate from our partners and customers, as well as Icagen’s internal drug discovery pipeline.

Early discovery efforts center on multi-parametric exploration of chemical series identified by "wet" and in silico screening. In the following stage of series optimization, close attention is paid to drug-like properties, which include a balanced set of physico-chemical properties with acceptable ADME parameters.

Series Exploration

At Icagen, we perform multiple campaigns of high- and medium-throughput screening to identify chemical series as starting points for internal and partner programs.

Key features of Icagen Hit Series Exploration efforts include:

  • Hit triage of screening results performed by experienced medicinal chemists
  • Compound re-synthesis and re-confirmation of biological activity
  • Fast synthesis of analog panels by parallel synthesis methods
  • Iterative and multi-parametric exploration based on compound properties
  • Identification of optimizable chemical series

Our teams are skilled in design and synthesis of SAR sets as well as in preparation of structurally close analogs to unravel structure-activity relationship within each chemotype.

Series Optimization

As a former pharmaceutical R&D site of a large pharmaceutical company, our chemistry team and infrastructure is world-class. Our state of the art facilities and highly experienced staff are capable of supporting multiple discovery programs. Typical optimization of chemical and biological properties at the early stage includes consideration of the following properties, which are obtained through automation. 

  • Potency, selectivity, IP
  • Sample concentration, chemical stability
  • Molecular weight - LogD - solubility (kinetic, thermodynamic)
  • Microsomal stability, CYP inhibition, induction (MBI)
  • MetID (key representatives)
  • Clearance hepatocytes (key representatives)
  • HERG, Caco-2, PK 

Enhancement of Screening Collection

  • Focused and diverse libraries of small molecules for HTS/MTS
  • Design of screening libraries from commercial sources
  • Expertise in solid-phase chemistry and combinatorial technologies
  • Experience in solution-phase synthesis of compound arrays 

Automated Synthesis Platforms

  • Complete automated solid-phase synthesis system
  • Tecan-supported synthesis in 96-well plates
  • Labman plate washers
  • Heating, cooling, evaporation 

Support Instrumentation

  • Preparative LC-MS
  • Gilson semi-preparative systems
  • Schimadzu analytical systems
  • Combiflash fast separation stations
  • Evaporators

Peptide Chemistry

Coming from and still practicing the field of peptide chemistry, a significant part of the Chemistry group has hands-on expertise in peptide-based therapeutics. Our experience & skill sets in peptide chemistry include:

  • Early founders and practitioners of one-bead-one compound “split-mix” technology
  • Fast synthesis of analog panels by parallel synthesis methods
  • Controlled release from resin beads for multiple assays
  • Extensive experience in solid-phase synthesis of peptides and amide bond-containing hybrid molecules
  • Experience with releasable linkers allowing orthogonal cleavage of solid-phase bound molecules
  • Synthesis of macrocyclic peptide arrays