Establishing an Open Access CM Facility in Australia
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An automated compound management facility, the Queensland Compound Library (QCL), is being established at the Eskitis Institute following funding from the Queensland State Government and Griffith University. The guiding principle of the QCL is to facilitate collaboration between Australian chemists and biologists, and add value to the already excellent basic medical research, synthetic organic chemistry and natural product expertise in the region. Chemists can deposit compounds into a central repository thereby allowing biologists access to a unique suite of molecules in screen ready microtiter plates. The consolidation of Australian chemistry at a central repository will result in a greater coverage of chemistry space than any single collection in the country, public or private, currently achieves. Chemists will be able to store potentially valuable collections under optimal conditions with vastly increased opportunities to have their compounds tested for biological activity against an increased number of targets and cellular assays. Of great importance is the fact that the QCL does not lay claim to any intellectual property (IP) owned or generated by users of the facility. A unique IP model that lies somewhere between the propriety nature of industry and the NIH policy of placing data in the public domain was developed for the current Australian situation. The QCL model allows synergies to develop and mature into projects that are prosecuted in a way best suited to the collaboration. Thus, molecules submitted by chemists may be tested to interrogate biological function or form the basis of a drug discovery program. The combination of a unique IP model, pre-existing, successful high throughput screening infrastructure and a fully integrated compound handling system will create an environment for facilitating collaborations between different groups of scientists. Delivery of this facility required a number of novel approaches to project management, install and post-delivery support. The commitment from equipment vendors to address the challenges presented by distributed geographical locations has laid the foundation for successful provision of a compound logistics service that can operate at world's best practice. This presentation describes a unique approach to stimulating drug discovery that best suits Australian circumstances and the automation that is being used to accomplish this.
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