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New European Centre for Chirality to Offer World Class Analytical and Scientific Services for Advancements in Chiral Chemical Processes

EC2 is a unique blend of expertise and resources that brings together leading authorities dedicated to advancing the understanding the role chirality plays in biological processes. The EC2 mission is to help academic and industrial scientists develop a broad range of chirality related applications through offering services ranging from teh determination of absolute chiral configurations, vibrational optical activity (VOA) measurements, computational modelling including expert consultancy and education workshops to open access VOA instrumentation.

Given the importance of chirality in e.g. drug discovery and development, the information obtained using these techniques can benefit productivity in drug discovery, diagnostics research, drug devlopment and registration. The new centre, based at Antwerp and Ghent, Belgium, will comprise a team of dedicated scientists, including some of the world’s most respected leaders in VOA, using an array of advanced analytical instrumentation and modelling software able to fulfil the demanding analysis such challenging applications require.

Dr Edwin Kellenbach, departmental head Analytical Sciences at Merck explained: "Analysis of the chiral formations of both small molecules and biological molecules (simply put, the right and left handed versions of molecules) are now an essential part of the discovery and development of new medicines, for example the understanding of chirality has played a key role in the success of seven out of ten of the latest blockbuster drugs including Liptor, Nexium and Plavix. The challenge faced by many of us working in the pharmaceutical sector and underpinned by pressure form market regulators is to obtain high quality data about chirality sufficiently early in the discovery of new molecules to be able to make decisions that will determine the success or failure of the molecules in achieving clinical efficacy and safety. EC2 will help scientists meet these challenges.