Jean-Paul Renaud

SME Presentation

The NovAliX Group

NovAliX, a innovative technology company located in the Strasbourg-Illkirch BioPark, was created in January 2009 through the merger of Novalyst Discovery, a chemistry services company, and AliX, a structural biology services company, both founded end of 2002 as spin-off companies from the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Université of Strasbourg and the Department of Structural Biology and Genomics of IGBMC, respectively. The NovAliX Group has strengthened its chemistry and biophysics capabilities ever since through the integration of complementary expertise in order to offer comprehensive services to support the pharmaceutical industry’s growing outsourcing needs from discovery to manufacturing. The group’s vision relies on the concept “productivity, flexibility, technology”.

By combining a set of capabilities including ligand screening by SPR, non-covalent mass spectrometry (NC-MS) and NMR, protein crystallography, and medicinal chemistry, NovAliX is able to handle integrated structure-based, fragment-based, or natural-based drug discovery projects. In sum, the company implements target-driven approaches from hit identification to lead optimization.

Nanodrop crystallization robot


NovAliX has a strong focus on the use of biophysical techniques for drug discovery. To support its gene-to-structure platform, NovAliX has developped automated NC-MS, an approach that has emerged as a powerful tool for drug discovery [1] : (i) as a screening technique, it can efficiently remove false positives from a primary high-throughput screening or a virtual screening by assessing the physical binding of the primary hits to the target ; (ii) alternatively, it is well-suited to screen directly fragment libraries thanks to its sensitivity ; (iii) it is also a high-content technique for the detailed characterization of ligand-target interaction in terms of stoechiometry, reversibility, specificity, and affinity.

Automated incubation and injection system fitted on a nano-electrospray mass spectrometer


NMRTEC offers advanced NMR technologies focused on quality control to support pharmaceutical development and manufacturing teams : solution NMR for the fine characterization of biologics (Protealys) and the deformulation of drugs (DOSY [2]), solid-state NMR for the thorough analysis of APIs and polymorphism studies.

Phytodia is specialized in the identification and the characterization of plant extracts (development of analytical methods, quantification, resolution of complex mixtures…) as well as in the demonstration of biological activities (pharmacology, in vitro toxicology, and early ADME) for various allegations (slimness, aging, vitality…), supporting the development of new ingredients / products for the nutraceutical, cosmetic and pharmaceutical domains [3].

eNovalys is a small spin-off of NovAliX dedicated to chemo-informatics. The company develops an intelligent search engine for the knowledge-based identification of efficient chemical synthesis pathways and reaction conditions.

Most recently, NovAliX has acquired a majority interest in Graffinity Pharmaceuticals GmbH, located in Heidelberg, a leading fragment-based drug discovery services company. Graffinity has developed a unique, patented, high-throughput SPR screening technology based on ligand immobilization on micro-arrays [4], bringing a fully complementary platform to the NovAliX Group’s biophysical capabilities in ligand screening and drug design [5].

Micro-array readout by SPR imaging


The NovAliX Group now employs more than 120 scientists continously developing and applying innovative research capabilities for its pharmaceutical clients.


Information and contact:

Dr. Jean-Paul Renaud, CSO
boulevard Sébastien Brant
F-67400 Illkirch, France
web :
contact :


Selected publications :

  • [1] Vivat et al. (2010) “Native MS: an ‘ESI’ way to support structure- and fragment-based drug discovery” Future Med. Chem. 1 : 35-50
  • [2] Balayssac et al. (2009) “2D and 3D DOSY 1H NMR, a useful tool for analysis of complex mixtures: application to herbal drugs or dietary supplements for erectile dysfunction” J. Pharm. Biomed. Anal. 50 : 602-612
  • [3] Sato et al. (2007) “Anti-hyperglycemic activity of a TGR5 agonist isolated from Olea europaea” Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 362 : 793-798
  • [4] Neumann et al. (2007) “SPR-based fragment screening: advantages and applications” Curr. Top. Med. Chem. 7 : 1630-1642
  • [5] Renaud and Delsuc (2009) “Biophysical techniques for ligand screening and drug design” Curr. Op. Pharmacol. 9 : 622-628

By Jean-Paul Renaud


Gabriele Costantino
Univ. of Parma, IT

Editorial Committee

Erden Banoglu
Gazi Univ., TR

Leonardo Scapozza
Univ. of Geneve, CH

Wolfgang Sippl
Univ. Halle-Wittenberg, DE

Sarah Skerratt
Pfizer, Sandwich

Executive Committee

Gerhard F. Ecker President
Roberto Pellicciari Past Pres.
Koen Augustyns Secretary
Rasmus P. Clausen Treasurer
Javier Fernandez Member
Mark Bunnage Member
Peter Matuys Member

For more information please contact