Understanding the role of water in protein-ligand complexes and when to consider water in drug discovery
Introduction The role of water in drug discovery should never be ignored. Its importance in ligand binding is well accepted ...
I want to take the opportunity to thank all of our customers, existing and new, for their support of Cresset over the last 12 months. I also want to pay tribute to the amazing Cresset team, for working incredibly hard and achieving great things throughout the year; more of which in a moment. But first, as we head towards Christmas and the New Year, it’s safe to say that 2021 has proven to be just as much of a ‘mixed bag’ of a year as 2020 did. Whilst we all had to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of working via (mostly, in our case) Teams or Zoom we also have had opportunities to once again gather together, carefully and with social distancing, to discuss science, business and life, which has been very enjoyable.
As a company we have managed well through the pandemic, in having adapted to new working practices. This has resulted in us welcoming many new customers to the fold this year, across the board in terms of industry and size, from large pharma to biotech and beyond. Equally, the Cresset team has grown considerably, with new colleagues adding further to our exciting environment and enhancing our ability to provide innovative and intuitive software solutions and expert consultancy. Our in-house team are supported in key regions by a network of distributors, and I thank them for their continued valuable contributions.
During the year we saw the launch of V5 of our flagship product Flare™. This significant release encompassed the integration of ligand-based and structure-based design tools into a single solution, including all of the functionality from Forge™, as well as having major updates in terms of new functionality, e.g., free energy perturbation (Flare FEP). Flare brings a comprehensive suite of molecule design tools to the desktop, with a focus on supporting current and future computational workflows.
In addition to Flare, we also saw the formal launch of the complete Torx™ platform – through our partnership with Elixir Software Ltd, which delivers a solution for medicinal and synthetic chemistry: providing design capabilities alongside synthesis tracking and test management in a flexible cloud-native environment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made many companies, large and small, reconsider the way they address their molecule design challenges. As a result, Cresset Discovery has seen a dramatic increase in demand from companies outsourcing discovery projects. We are rightly proud of the Discovery team, comprising world-leading CADD scientists, who continue to deliver excellence to our clients. Through this year, we have increasingly seen the migration of large-scale computing to cloud platforms, such as AWS and Azure: with a consequent expansion in requirements in this space; we foresee this growing as a practice area over the next few years.
It’s often difficult to pick out specific highlights, but from a personal perspective, I was really pleased to welcome a new non-executive director to the Board. In January we appointed David Newble, CEO of SPT Labtech, to join our tight-knit team. He is helping our strategic focus and brings a wealth of experience in growing companies within the life sciences space; I look forwards to working closely with David and the other Directors to continue building Cresset as a world-leading organization.
Looking forwards towards 2022, I am particularly excited about the expansion of our core platforms: Flare, where we will continue to strengthen our core modelling offering; Torx, which promises to bring even greater depth of capability and more comprehensive solutions for managing drug discovery projects; and Discovery, where we plan further growth in capabilities and depth of expertise. Later in the year, we are also looking forwards to hosting the Andy Vinter Memorial Meeting (Cambridge UK, June 16th), an event which was postponed due to the pandemic, but one which is sure to be a memorable event. Alongside remembering our friend and colleague, we will also be celebrating 20 years of Cresset – stay tuned for more details!
I extend my thanks to our customers, partners and colleagues, and wish you all a very happy Christmas and a much-improved New Year!