The vision for the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research (WCAIR) is to help tackle the urgent unmet medical need and lack of drug discovery research for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). This will be achieved by creating a world-leading hub for NTD drug discovery and being the collaborator of choice for academics, Pharma and Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) in the translation of discovery science into drug candidates.
WCAIR consolidates the existing world-leading NTD drug discovery expertise within the Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery bringing together the Drug Discovery Unit, the Mode of Action group and the Parasitology research groups providing an integrtaed pathway from discovery science to pre-clinical candidate selection.
WCAIR will deliver high-quality pre-clinical drug candidates for NTDs with an initial focus on visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and Chagas’ disease (CD). To deliver solutions to the unmet medical and patient need research will address current key hindrances to timely drug development for NTDs creating new paradigms for NTD drug discovery. These include:
- Innovate drug discovery approaches for VL and CD, including developing in silico and animal models that have improved prediction of Pharmacokinetic/Pharmacodynamic relationships and clinical efficacy.
- Increased exploitation of novel drug targets, through structure-based drug discovery.
- Develop tool compounds with known pharmacology to enable further understanding of parasite biology.
- Improve the efficiency of drug discovery by establishing groups to facilitate compound scale up, compound purification and formatting.
Develop and deliver a comprehensive training programme in drug discovery with an emphasis on capacity building in disease endemic countries. A key component will be providing trainees with the opportunity to learn through working alongside researchers at WCAIR. If you would like to know more about the training programme please contact Susan Farrell.
Activities will be aimed at enhancing public awareness of the impact and need for new medicines for NTDs and developing the public’s understanding of the drug discovery process and why it is important. One aspect of WCAIR's PE activities will be working with Dr Sarah Cook and the LifeSpace Science Art Reserach Gallery based in the School of Life Sciences. WCAIR will commision artists to work with our researchers to develop new pieces of art which help the public engage with our research. For further information and opportunities to partner with WCAIR on PE activities please contact Ali Floyd.
WCAIR has many existing global collaborators, including GSK’s kinetoplastid Discovery Performance Unit (DPU) (Tres Cantos, Spain; drug discovery), John Kelly and Simon Croft (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; animal disease models), Louis Maes (University of Antwerp; animal disease models), Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi, Geneva; general drug discovery and clinical development) and Medicines for Malaria Venture (clinical development of a potent oral anti-malarial candidate drug).
Watch Dr Charles Mowbray, Discovery Director at DNDi explain why DNDi have partnered with the Drug Discovery Unit and GSK to discover new pre-clinical drug candidates targeting two parasitic neglected tropical diseases, leishmaniasis and Chagas disease.
The Centre is interested in forging new collaborations with partners which can help us contribute to our vision. If you would like to explore opportunities for working with WCAIR then please contact the Centre Manager, Catharine Goddard.
Current vacancies within WCAIR can be found on the School of Life Sciences vacancies webpage. We also welcome enquiries from dynamic people at any stage in their career who would like to work with us in Dundee. You can find more information about the career support and life benefits of living in Dundee here.
WCAIR are seeking a highly creative, proactive and energetic individual to take up a new post of Lead for the Drug Discovery Innovation Project (DDIP). The post will be within the Drug Discovery Unit (DDU), which is part of WCAIR.The goal of DDIP is to position the DDU and others working on the major infectious diseases of low and middle income countries at the cutting-edge of how drug discovery is carried out now and in the future. To achieve this, the successful candidate will develop a vision (with a horizon out to 2030) to radically increase productivity, and the rate of delivery and success of drug discovery projects, by creating a fundamentally redesigned and streamlined approach to drug discovery for these diseases. By identifying and working with key scientists from multiple disciplines e.g. biomedical, chemical, computing, engineering and mathematical sciences and key opinion leaders, you as the Lead for DDIP, will critically assess new methodologies and technologies that can be implemented by a wide range of drug discovery groups and to initiate research to fill identified gaps currently hampering successful drug discovery. Full details and the application form can be found on the University of Dundee job pages. Reference:SLSC0439 Closing date: 10th August 2018.