Determining the three-dimensional structures of molecules is a critical part of new drug discovery.
Traditional methods have often taken months or years to achieve results.
University researchers have now developed an improved method, using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) data, which determines the 3D conformation of drugs within weeks.
Following this success, Dr Andrew Almond and Dr Charles Blundell set up the spin-out company C4X Discovery (formerly Conformetrix.) The company has raised several million pounds in private investment.
In 2012, AstraZeneca began to apply this new technology, known as MolGyrate, across their entire pre-therapeutic pipeline, enhancing its drug discovery process.
C4X Discovery has also provided paid services to several of the world's largest pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
The Vice President and Head of Discovery Sciences at AZ said: "We've been looking to see if there is anything else out there that competes with Conformetrix's technology. We feel it is truly unique."
"Surprisingly, there's very little technology available for looking at the shape of small molecules like drugs in their native environment."Dr Andrew Almond / Lecturer, The University of Manchester