We use our laboratory space to create an integrated drug discovery unit, where our chemists and biologists are located in the same laboratory. These cross-disciplinary interactions are critical to the success of the unit and were fundamental considerations in the design of the laboratory space. The unit offers several fumehoods for synthetic and medicinal chemistry, alongside a fully functional tissue culture suite and facilities for a wide variety of biochemical and cellular investigations, specifically tailored toward drug discovery.
To support these investigations, we have invested heavily in technologies which have made major impacts on commercial drug discovery and which enhance the quality of the data we produce, such as a fully automated acoustic dispensing platform (which facilitates medium-throughput screening up to ca. 15k compounds) and the implementation of an integrated chemo- and bio-informatics system, to ensure we make the best decisions and act in a timely fashion on the data we generate. Alongside more traditional tools, the laboratory is also equipped with its own state-of-the-art analytical and preparative scale LC-MS facilities, a microwave synthesiser and an NMR machine to support our chemistry team, alongside multi-format plate readers and forefront protein analysis systems to support our biologists. Furthermore, we have also invested in state-of-the-art imaging facilities to provide robust, high quality data in a variety of formats from our cell-based assays.
Our efforts are further supported through the use of molecular modelling and structure-guided drug design technologies, to ensure we prepare compounds which test specific and relevant biological hypotheses. These approaches also allow the generation of novel start points for our drug discovery programmes and allow us to prosecute challenging areas of target biology, such as protein-protein interactions and allosteric modulation of biological pathways. As part of the team, we have an expert computational chemist who provides the skill set to fully exploit our 3-D modelling facilities.