MAY 2018

InterAx Biotech and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam enter a collaboration to unlock novel chemical space for chemokine therapeutics


Villigen – Switzerland, Amsterdam – The Netherlands, May 31 2018

InterAx Biotech and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam announce that they will combine complementary technologies to design bioactive molecules – so called POLYPHARMACOLOGICALS – that simultaneously target multiple chemokine receptors.

In the collaboration, InterAx Biotech and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Prof Rob Leurs and Prof Iwan de Esch) will combine their expertise in systems biology, virtual screening and novel protein-based biosensor assays to design and synthesize new chemical modulators with well-defined polypharmacological effects that can serve as new therapeutics. This unique process will accelerate drug discovery for unmet needs in oncology.

Maria Waldhoer (CSO, InterAx Biotech) said: “We are excited to complement our capabilities on identifying and optimizing lead compounds with superior chemical and biological properties with the strength and know-how on virtual screening and medicinal chemistry of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The funding support from Eurostars significantly facilitates this collaboration, which was initiated and co-designed by Dr. Chris de Graaf, who recently joined Heptares Therapeutics as Head of Computational Chemistry.

Rob Leurs (Professor of Medicinal Chemistry of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) adds: “Combining our long-standing expertise in GPCR drug discovery with a new biosensor-based screening platform and systems biology approach is very appealing. Moreover, targeting more than one GPCR is a really interesting challenge, but with the increasing availability of structural information and the latest computational technologies this should be within reach”.

Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
PROTEUS is a project co-funded by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and the European Union.

About InterAx Biotech AG
InterAx is a technology-focused spinoff company from the ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute. InterAx has built a unique drug discovery platform for identification of functionally optimized drugs with improved efficacy and reduced side effects for the largest class of human receptors: The G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The discovery platform consists of three core assets: Virtual screening, state-of-the-art cell-based signaling assays including IP-protected protein-based biosensors, and mathematical modelling for identification of most informative drug screening assays and prediction of in vivo effects. This unique combination ensures a highly efficient process for identification and IP-protection of novel GPCR lead compounds. InterAx unique drug discovery platform will dramatically reduce costs for the development of novel drugs with reduced side effects, thereby benefiting patients with unmet medical needs. For more information, please visit

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, department of Medicinal Chemistry
The Medicinal Chemistry group of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has a long-standing expertise in the area of GPCR drug discovery with an emphasis on histamine and (viral) chemokine receptors. Next to detailed pharmacological and cell signaling studies of these GPCRs, the group targets various of these GPCRs by means of fragment-based approaches and structure-based design, combined with state-of-the-art synthetic approaches. The group is integral part of the Amsterdam Institute of Molecules, Medicines and Systems, one of the high-profile research institutes of the Vrije Universiteit. For more information, please visit