How does the application process work?
First you need to speak to someone in our dedicated team. As scientists, they understand your work.
Next we ask you to complete a non-confidential form outlining your project. Again one of our dedicated targets team will help you complete the form. We have six submission deadlines a year in order to manage the review process.
The form will then be evaluated internally to assess scientific rational, feasibility and fit with our capabilities and our current portfolio. An internal panel will decide whether the project merits further investigation. All applicants will receive detailed feedback. Successful projects will move through to the next phase of review.
Drug discovery proposal
Our team will work with you to prepare a collaborative drug discovery project proposal which will include details of the project plan. These proposals are reviewed by an internal panel and external drug discovery experts three times a year. Unsuccessful projects will receive feedback to strengthen research. Successful projects will move forward to feasibility studies.
We commence feasibility work (e.g. assay development), and at the same time our business managers will agree the terms of the collaboration with you and your organisation. Once terms are agreed and feasibility criteria are met, the project will formally launch and enter our active drug discovery portfolio.
2. What does collaborating with you offer me?
Our biologists develop new industry standard assays or adapt pre-existing assays necessary for screening, hit confirmation and functional characterisation of new molecules.
We carry out high throughput screening using proprietary in-house compound libraries. For antibody projects we screen antibodies for binding to the target antigen.
Hit to lead optimisation
Our medicinal chemists develop structure-activity relationships (SAR) to improve potency, solubility and physico-chemical properties of hit series to turn them into drug-like molecules.
For antibody projects we humanise and engineer the antibodies to obtain optimal binding aﬀinity, functional eﬀicacy and robust biophysical properties to generate a lead candidate.
Proof of concept
Candidate molecules are tested in relevant animal models of disease and human tissues/cells.
We develop novel IP and a robust supporting data package suitable for partnering to pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies.
3. How do you select projects?
Our criteria for selecting a project are:
We carry out drug discovery or develop therapeutics against novel targets. We prefer not to work on targets already screened or fully explored by industry, but are interested in novel approaches to tackle known therapeutic targets if there are clear benefits to this novel approach.
For Small molecules – a defined molecular target
We perform drug discovery against defined molecular targets. Our definition of a drug target is an isolated biomolecule, usually a protein or a protein-protein interaction that has a known biological activity that can be specifically assayed.
For Therapeutic antibodies – a defined, accessible target
We develop therapeutic antibodies against defined molecular targets. The target must be accessible to antibodies that bind in the extracellular environment (e.g. membrane and secreted proteins). In an ideal scenario the precise antigenic region of relevance is defined.
What happens when the drug candidate is ready for clinical trials?
Industrial partners have the resources to further develop our drug candidates and take them into clinical trials. If one of our projects reaches the market, any milestone and royalty payments we receive are shared with our academic collaborators.
What is your experience in partnering assets?
We have partnered ten small molecule or antibody projects with industry that are still in active pre-clinical or clinical development in a range of indications:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Parkinson’s disease
Why should we work with you?
We have helped develop four drugs that are currently on the market and transforming patient lives:
- Keytruda® (Merck) – oncology
- Tysabri® (Biogen IDEC) – multiple sclerosis
- Actemra® (Roche) – rheumatoid arthritis
- Entyvio® (Takeda) – ulcerative colitis