A direct-to-biology high-throughput chemistry approach to reactive fragment screening.

Ross P. Thomas, Rachel E. Heap, Francesca Zappacosta, Emma K. Grant, Peter Pogany, Stephen Besley, David J. Fallon, Michael M. Hann, David House, Nick C. O. Tomkinson, Jacob T. Bush

Research output: Working paperOther working paper

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Methods for rapid identification of chemical tools are essential for the validation of emerging targets and to provide medicinal chemistry starting points for the development of new medicines. Here, we report a screening platform that combines ‘direct-to-biology’ high-throughput chemistry (D2B-HTC) with photoreactive covalent fragments. The platform enabled the rapid synthesis of >1000 PhotoAffinity Bits (HTC-PhABits) in 384-well plates. Screening the HTC-PhABit library with carbonic anhydrase I (CAI) afforded 7 hits (0.7% hit rate), which were found to covalently crosslink in the Zn2+ binding pocket. A powerful advantage of the D2B-HTC screening platform is the ability to rapidly perform iterative design-make-test cycles, accelerating the development and optimisation of chemical tools and medicinal chemistry starting points with little investment of resource.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2021


  • reactive fragments
  • covalent fragments
  • photoaffinity labelling
  • direct to biology
  • high throughput chemistry


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