Academic-industry collaboration designed to improve computer models used to guide pharmaceutical drug discovery
BLACKSBURG, Virginia, November 13, 2018 // — Today, the Molecular Software Sciences Institute (“The MolSSI”) announced the launch of The Open Force Field Consortium (“OpenFF Consortium”), an academic-industry collaboration designed to improve computer models used to guide pharmaceutical drug discovery.
This effort, which was spearheaded by scientists from the University of California Irvine, Bayer, and GSK, brings together academic and industry collaborators to improve the basic infrastructure used by computer modeling in drug discovery. Pharmaceutical discovery has grown more and more expensive. We need improved tools to help reduce costs and increase the pace of discovery. This new initiative aims to improve the predictive power of models used to guide drug discovery, specifically by building better energy models to improve model accuracy.
The consortium brings together researchers from across academia and industry to create an entirely open force field platform. While supported by the pharmaceutical industry, all its research and products will be fully open and available to everyone, serving to benefit the entire field.
Commercial Partners provide the primary support for the work. Initial partners include BASF; Bayer; Boehringer Ingelheim; Vertex Pharmaceuticals; Merck KGaA, Darmstadt Germany; XtalPi; and F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd. Opportunities remain open for more partners to join. The MolSSI serves as a coordinating intermediary, helping to ensure the developed software is broadly useful and sustainable. Other academic partners helping lead the research include UC San Diego, UC Davis, and the University of Colorado Boulder. Industry partners give key scientific input and are involved in steering the Consortium.
“Force fields represent the foundation of molecular simulations and modeling — a real community resource. Everyone uses them, but improving them is an often unglamorous task. We’re very excited that our industry partners recognize the importance of this problem and have joined us to help support this important initiative, so that we can improve modeling as a whole,” said David L. Mobley (UC Irvine), one of the Principal Investigators.
The MolSSI at Virginia Tech is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and serves as a coordinating intermediary, helping to ensure the developed software is broadly useful and sustainable. “The MolSSI is proud to facilitate the industrial-academic connections represented by the Open Force Field Consortium,” said T. Daniel Crawford, professor of chemistry in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, and director of The MolSSI. “This falls squarely within our mandate to provide the global computational molecular sciences community the tools it needs to explore larger and more complex scientific challenges than ever before.”
For more information about the Open Force Field Consortium, visit http://openforcefield.org. OpenFF is also seeking potential additional funding from foundations and federal agencies, and welcomes additional commercial partners interested in joining in support of the initiative. For more information about the MolSSI, visit http://molssi.org.
Sarah Holland, Blue Mobius Marketing