The objective: a collaborative approach to find small molecule candidates

The European Lead Factory was established in 2013 to find valuable lead candidates that were previously inaccessible – compounds that can result in the development of novel treatment options for patients. To achieve this goal, the EU Lead Factory provides a high-quality compound library and the opportunity to screen those compounds against potential drug targets to the broader community.

High-quality compounds

In an unprecedented joint-force approach, eight members of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) decided to give the European research community and each other access to their heavily safe-guarded compound libraries. By contributing over 300,000 compounds to the European Lead Factory compound Library, they aim to boost drug discovery within Europe. One of the objectives of the EU Lead Factory was to complement these by another 200,000 innovative compounds, synthesized specifically for our library by the Public Chemistry Consortium. To achieve this, library design proposals have been sourced from academic groups and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) throughout Europe. Together, the EFPIA and Public compound collections now have formed our unique 500,000-strong compound library.

Screening opportunities

The ultimate deliverable of the European Lead Factory is to provide the highest quality lead candidates to stimulate drug discovery programmes. To find valuable lead structures, the compounds in our library are screened against drug targets by means of ultra-high throughput  screening (uHTS) at multiple screening centres: at each of the participating EFPIA partners, and at the European Screening Centre (ESC). The EU Lead Factory allows the participating EFPIA companies to access the full compound library for a limited number of their screening programmes. In addition, the ESC provides European researchers in- and outside the consortium the unique opportunity to screen their potential drug target against the compound library. Learn more about the selection process.


The European Lead Factory is currently based on a partnership of 20 organisations throughout Europe and welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with you to advance drug discovery even further. Within the project, crowdsourcing provides not only a constant flow of innovation but also new opportunities for collaborations between academic groups, SMEs and EFPIA members on both scientific and commercial grounds.