"This programme will establish an Academia-Users Network in Chemical Biology to initiate, establish and nurture collaborative projects for the advancement of the drug discovery process. It aims to expand the capability of UK drug discovery, with new drug targets, new tools to validate targets and new multidisciplinary partnerships to explore the platforms, tools and targets of the future.
In the post-genomic age opportunities for the development of new clinically validated targets for drug discovery and ultimately medicines are considerable. Drug discovery resources in academia and industry are not used efficiently, to the detriment of industry and society. Duplication could be reduced, and productivity could be increased, by performing basic biology and clinical proofs of concept within open access industry-academia partnerships.
The major obstacle to clinical validation of new drug targets and the invention of new medicines is the availability and efficient delivery of small-molecules probes in order to understand the basic biology. Provision of these probes will allow for pre-clinical validation of drug targets and reduce the duplication of efforts across the pharmaceutical industry. Failures of potential drug molecules in late stage clinical trials result in enormous cost to the companies involved, the pharmaceutical industry in general and also dashes the hopes of countless patients.
A relatively poor understanding of disease mechanisms, particularly in humans, confounds the drug discovery process and represents a pivotal area of biological research. Potent, selective and cell-permeable chemical probes are valued reagents in both fundamental and applied biological research, and they are essential for preclinical target validation in academic and industrial laboratories.
Strategic alignment of academic synthetic chemists, molecular modellers and structural biologists with industrial end users will provide a blueprint for the provision of open access chemical probes to support clinical validation and drug discovery efforts within the UK."
"Key metrics from the grant include:
1. Over 1000 people from 78 organisations have engaged with SMSdrug.net.
2. Involvement from 44 universities, 19 companies, 15 other networks, 9 funding bodies.
3. Further Funding of over £5M from core members of Network.
4. 5 studentships and 3 major grants secured.
5. Members have attended events at 45 different venues.
6. ChEMBL tour visited 14 universities.
7. 196 contacts from 48 organisations have attended 16 major events.
8. 10 projects, 18 publications, and over 40 presentations on the Network from committee.
9. International involvement of the Network with Europe, North America, South America and Asia.
10. SMSdrug.net promoted at 12 Indian institutions during 2012 visit."