Leading state-of-the-art chemistry technologies centers focus on collaborative research with St. Jude investigators to further our understanding of biological mechanisms that result in childhood diseases. The overarching goal is to translate this knowledge into new therapeutic opportunities. CBT centers form an integrated pipeline to bring chemistry to medicine at St. Jude. Collaborative projects involve a close partnership between the laboratory and the participating centers.
Unlike shared resource centers, we are, by design, a collaborative department that develops innovative chemical and chemoinformatic solutions to tackle fundamental problems in biology and medicine. The collaborative centers possess chemical synthesis, high-throughput and high-content screening, analytical, pre-clinical, and computational capabilities that mirror leading biotech/pharma operations and are rarely accessible at academic institutions.
With one of the largest compound collections in academia, containing over 600,000 carefully annotated small molecules, CBT is paving the way in drug-discovery research. Gisele Nishiguchi, the compound collections specialist, leads a team of 4 scientists from different CBT centers who curate the collection. Currently, the collection contains small molecules from vendors, compounds from in-house parallel synthesis, analogs of internal medicinal clinical candidate projects, focused libraries designed for specific targets or target classes, fragments, natural products, approved drugs, and chemical probes from literature. It is organized in a ‘library of libraries’ design, where subsets can be screened independently according to a project’s specific needs. The team’s objectives are to leverage and expand the existing library by acquiring compounds enriched for biological activity and new approved drugs and probes. The team’s current collaborations include creating a molecular glue library, both via vendors and in-house synthesis, with multiple faculty across St. Jude and CBT. Recently, the team made available a Mechanism of Action Library (MOA), which consists of 2050 small molecules, covering over 1,000 primary gene targets.