If you have a project where you want to validate novel therapeutic strategies, CQMED can utilize a wide range of tools. Do you have a hint that modulation of a given protein will satisfy an unmet medical need? At CQMED we can partner to develop potent and selective small-molecule tool compound and to test your hypothesis in a biologically relevant model. Not sure how to do early-stage drug discovery? We can help.

Who can be our partner?

  • Academic labs with interests in structural biology/medicinal chemistry projects for understudied proteins.
  • Pharmaceutical companies located in Brazil which have an interest in projects including structural biology/medicinal chemistry for disease-related proteins.

How to Become our Partner?

Describe your main question with a short text about your scientific background and Email us at

Which models can we use to work together?

  • Academic Professors – any group can submit a protein target of interest for a joint project according to the INCT criteria (below) for generating a target enabling package (TEP) . The duration of each project and the aims should be defined at the beginning of the project. The academic partners need to appoint a member of their group to come and execute most of the experiments at CQMED.
    • Contact Katlin Massirer (
  • Industry – leaders in R&D of pharmaceutical Industry or other companies can contract projects with us in the field of medicinal chemistry or biotechnology by following the EMBRAPII model, where the University plus the Embrapii agency will contribute with 45% of the funding while the company will contribute with ~ 42%. The duration of the projects can vary from 2-6 years and the execution of the project will be split between our team of postdocs and the company according to the expertise, resources and strategy.
    • Private pharmaceutical companies – contact

    About INCT – National Institutes of Science and Technology

    The Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology created the Program of National Institutes of Science and Technology (INCT) to articulate the best group of research in areas of sustainable development, to launch fundamental science in a competitive international scenario, to stimulate high tech research, to promote innovation and entrepreneurs, together with innovative companies. Ministry of Science and Technology coordinates the INCTs and managed by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES). (text removed from INCT website)



    CQMED is a INCT (National Institute of C & T or Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia) since 2017, which is sponsored by the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development – CNPQ, Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel – CAPES and São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP.

    Our INCT is called the OpenMedChem and our aim is to unlock the potential of relevant proteins by developing a package of protocols and reagents that enable researchers to elucidate the biological function of these proteins. The package of research tools will include expression clones, protein purification protocols, antibodies, crystal structure, enzymatic assays and a chemical inhibitor. These “target-enabling packages” (TEPs) will be published openly and will provide the research community with a mechanism to greatly expand their capabilities.

    To ensure that Brazilian scientists benefit from these tools, our INCT is committing to make them available to all interested researchers through open science. Our INCT is focusing on enabling protein research because this is often the “missing link” between genetics and functional biological studies. The proteins encoded by common and mutant disease-related genes, or proteins that are targets for antiparasitic drugs are often not studied because reagents and tools are not available. Our INCT will overcome this major hurdle to translational science.


    Our Goal as INCT

    To accelerate the research on the protein function through a strong network of multidisciplinary researchers, we proposed to generate Target Enabling Package (TEPs) for disease relevant proteins along the project.

    Those packages include:

    Expression clones
    Methods for protein purification
    Crystal Structure
    Validate commercial or develop specific antibodies
    Protein activity assays
    Chemical probes for use as modulators of human cell function; to generate further information on the proteomics, the impact of mutations, and the physiology of the target proteins.

    All data and reagents generated from our INCT will be freely shared with the scientific community and companies. All TEPs will be published here in the website (link para publications) and scientific journal.

    All knowledge generated here will be used by research groups applied in biology and products, and thus we can target society in a fast and efficient way. How do we choose the target protein to be studied?


    How can you nominate a TEP?

    Any academic or industry groups can nominate target protein, based on their research. We have offered the possibility of target nomination to Principal Investigators from other INCTs and also to other academic groups. We aim to attract scientific groups who are leaders in their area of expertise, to accelerate the knowledge and availability of tools in various disease-related fields.

    A target-protein must meet the following requirements:

    The protein has to be understudied and related with a human disease
    Protein production methods not fully described before
    Crystal Structure not yet available in the PDB
    Eventually, commercial antibodies could be available but have not been extensively tested
    In vitro activity assays for the protein has to be developed
    An initial chemical matter may be available but needs improvement in activity or selectivity against the protein

    The suggestions will be evaluated by our Managing Commitee. The Research Groups which nominate the target protein can user our expertise and infrastructure to produce the protein and generate the initial protein structure. All research groups that nominate a target-protein must agree to release the data and reagent, as a principle of Open Science.


    The Brazilian Agency for Industrial Research and Innovation EMBRAPII is a Social Organization connected to the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations, and Communications (MCTIC), the Ministry of Education (MEC) and the Ministry of Health wherein both share responsibility for the funding.

    EMBRAPII’s operating model enables quickness, flexibility and reduced risk in supporting companies’ RD&I projects. The non-refundable grants managed by EMBRAPII are invested in projects carried out by companies and research institutions, acknowledged for their excellence, technological focus and the ability to meet companies´ RD&I demands. EMBRAPII Units have funds that are available exclusively for innovation projects.

    EMBRAPII operates through cooperation between public and private technological and scientific research institutions, which are accredited as EMBRAPII Research Units. These Units focus on entrepreneurial demands and innovation projects that are in the pre-competitive stage.

    Source: Embrapii


    The CQMED as EMBRAPII unit

    CQMED was accredited as an EMBRAPII Unit for Innovation in drug discovery in 2017. Our lab works together with pharmaceutical companies in drug development and medicinal chemistry projects. These projects are part of the precompetitive stage of the drug development process with the goal to develop synthetic molecules that target a disease-related biological target protein. CQMED excels in solving protein structures with ligand molecules and change molecules to gain high affinity and selectivity. Thus, to accelerate the development of new drugs, we have a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the following areas: molecular biology, protein production of interest, structural biology, medicinal chemistry, biochemical assays, and cell assays.

    In general, our projects comprise the following workflow:

    Selection of target proteins with biological importance
    High-throughput cloning for the functional region of the protein
    Small-scale protein expression tests to identify the suitable expression conditions
    Production of recombinant protein on a large scale
    Confirmation of protein identity by mass spectrometry
    Screening for identification of hits
    Co-crystallization target protein + hits
    Potency test to evaluate the affinity of hits to proteins
    Synthesis of new series of molecules to optimize the hit molecule
    Co-crystallization target protein + optimized hits
    Potency test of optimized hit
    Selectivity test of optimized Hits
    Cellular assay and cytotoxicity assays

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