A major centre created by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and MRC Technology (MRCT) in order to fast-track the discovery and development of novel drugs, opens its first call for targets today.
The MRCT Centre for Therapeutics Discovery (CTD), based in London, is seeking small molecule drug discovery and therapeutic antibody targets from academic researchers.
The CTD would like to collaborate with scientists in all universities to develop drug discovery projects targeting diseases for which there is significant unmet need. The centre will apply state of the art computational and medicinal chemistry to produce ‘drug-like’ molecules with the potential to become therapies. It will also focus on developing novel antibody therapies, bringing to bear its world-class expertise in antibody humanization technology, which has already produced two marketed therapeutic antibodies, with several more currently in clinical development.
As such, the CTD is also continuing to recruit and re-employ first class scientists from Pharma companies to build and maintain a high quality drug discovery capability within the UK.
In building the CTD, MRCT is helping to position the UK at the forefront of academic based drug discovery World-wide, creating a Centre of Excellence that Pharma companies will want to link to and hence maintain a Pharma presence in the UK.
Scientists from academia will benefit from the wealth of the CTD’s expertise including provision of tool compounds and reagents (including monoclonal antibodies) for further target validation and characterization studies, in silico screening, and access to medicinal chemistry, screening technologies and ADMET. CTD will also provide academia access to its hybridoma production capability and its extensive antibody engineering and expression expertise as well as its core antibody humanization skills. This initiative will also enable UK scientists to tap into MRC’s recently announced Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS) and collaborate with a high quality drug discovery capability whilst retaining existing IP ownership.
Dr David Tapolczay, MRCT’s CEO explained: “This is a fantastic opportunity for academics to have a dedicated centre with which to collaborate and progress their science to deliver tangible clinical benefit. In so doing, this initiative will help the UK to retain its world-leading reputation for innovation in drug discovery.”