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SRI announces selection by the National Cancer Institute as a Chemical Biology Consortium center

Menlo Park, Calif.July 22 , 2009SRI International, an independent nonprofit research and development organization, announced today that SRI's Center for Cancer Research was selected by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for a leading role in the newly-formed "Chemical Biology Consortium" (CBC), a collaborative drug discovery partnership focused on advancing new cancer therapeutics active against novel molecular and genetic cancer targets. Based on its track record of cancer drug discovery and development, SRI was chosen to lead three of the CBC's research and development centers: Comprehensive Chemical Biology Screening, Chemical Diversity, and Specialized Applications.

SRI has decades of experience in successfully identifying, developing and advancing novel compounds into clinical evaluation. SRI's Center for Cancer Research, comprised of biologists and medicinal chemists with expertise in fundamental and applied cancer research, focuses on the study of tumor microenvironment, tumor metabolism, and aberrant signaling pathways that cause cancer. Through collaborative partnerships, SRI's Center for Cancer Research has been successful in generating an extensive drug pipeline translating discoveries into beneficial treatments. SRI's drug discovery process, guided by a combination of biological screens and computational methods, will be a key component of the NCI Chemical Biology Consortium program.

"SRI is proud to be selected to join this innovative NCI program and to continue our long-standing support of NCI's mission to discover, develop, and bring new drugs to cancer patients," said Lidia Sambucetti, Ph.D., senior director of SRI's Center for Cancer Research. "Our multidisciplinary research team will bring proven expertise in fundamental and applied cancer research, backed by SRI's fully-integrated preclinical capabilities."

The goal of the Chemical Biology Consortium is to discover and develop new cancer therapeutics, particularly those that are beyond the scope of standard biopharmaceutical practice. The CBC will focus on therapeutic opportunities in high-risk, under-represented areas to advance the discovery of compounds active against novel molecular and genetic cancer targets.

Sambucetti will serve as the overall principal investigator of SRI's CBC program and the Comprehensive Chemical Biology Screening Center. She will collaborate with Mary Tanga, Ph.D., an SRI senior director of medicinal chemistry, who will lead the Chemical Diversity Center, and Keith Laderoute, Ph.D., an SRI distinguished scientist, who will lead the Specialized Applications Center.

As the principal investigator of the Comprehensive Chemical Biology Screening Center, Sambucetti was invited to join the CBC Steering Committee, an NCI advisory panel that will work to ensure that CBC Centers are efficiently bridging the gap between basic scientific findings and NCI-supported clinical research.

To optimize high-quality leads and accelerate the drug discovery process, SRI will be working with BioComputing Group, Inc., a developer of computational screening, hit-to-lead, and lead optimization tools with particular emphasis on structure-guided drug discovery. These tools employ novel molecular descriptors that are derived from active compounds within the target family and from the structure of the target protein that can be applied to the evaluation of compounds from a library as well as compounds not yet synthesized. BioComputing Group, Inc. ( has a significant track record of success in applying its tools in a hypothesis-driven paradigm to accelerate drug discovery efforts of its collaborators and clients, having placed multiple compounds into clinic with significantly reduced numbers of compounds screened and synthesized and with significantly shortened time frames.


Contact: Dina Basin
SRI International

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