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The Discovery Centre is a major new facility that will significantly boost Scotland’s biomedical sector by translating basic research towards societal application and helping us make an impact on people’s lives around the globe. Drug Discovery and research into new methods of conducting it is a key strength of the School of Life Sciences and the Centre will enable expansion of our already very strong translational programmes within the Drug Discovery Unit.

The first floor houses a new High Throughput robotics and ‘distribution metabolism and pharmacokinetics’ (DMPK) facility and the development has also enabled a massive increase chemistry capacity and Chemical Biology in the existing Sir James Black Centre.

Disease areas we study in our drug discovery programmes

In the developing world, more than 350 million people are at risk from diseases such as African sleeping sickness, Leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, tuberculosis and malaria.
Existing treatments can be expensive, difficult to administer, unsafe and increasingly ineffective, as the microbes that underlie these conditions develop resistance. Moreover, with the World heading towards a ‘post-antibiotic era’, scientific innovation needs to meet advanced biotechnology to deliver new, badly needed, new antimicrobial drugs for both the developing and developed world.

Our overall goal is to generate hit and lead compounds suitable for further development with our partners, and ultimately to identify candidate molecules for entry into preclinical development.

We are targeting five disease areas:

  • Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) – funded by the Wellcome Trust and in partnership with GSK Tres Cantos
  • Chagas disease – funded by the Wellcome Trust and in partnership with GSK Tres Cantos
  • Visceral Leishmaniasis – funded jointly by DNDi and the Wellcome Trust
  • Animal African trypanosomiasis (AAT) (Nagana) - funded by GALVmed
  • Malaria – working in partnership with MMV
  • Tuberculosis – working within HIT-TB, an international consortium led by the National Institute of Allergy and infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a Lead Optimisation Team, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Gram negative bacteria – working in partnership with the Bangalore Bio-Cluster to develop a joint Centre to tackle antimicrobial resistance

We are committed to breaking new ground in drug discovery using innovative approaches to develop new drug candidates in more mainstream therapeutic areas such as cancer, diabetes and genetic skin diseases through our Innovative Targets Portfolio. 

Other Therapeutic Areas

Collaboration is at the heart of our drug discovery programmes and our partners include pharmaceutical companies (including biotechs), academic groups and funding agencies.