Drug Discovery

The Institute is made up of dedicated chemistry and biology teams working together to discover new medicines.

Collaborative drug discovery

Drugs are discovered through collaboration. At the Cambridge DDI we are working with academics who bring their insight into the diseases that cause dementia and their ideas for potential new treatments, and with companies and clinicians to help us deliver these new treatments to patients. Within the DDI our projects consist of teams of chemists and biologists who come together to discover new medicines.

Target validation

We are actively assessing and investigating the best new ideas from academic labs in order to find the most promising new opportunities for drug discovery. Our cell and molecular biologists use a suite of assays, based around mechanisms of proteostasis to validate these new targets.

The Chemistry Team

 Once a target is validated, the process of discovering a drug passes to the chemistry team. We have a team of scientists skilled in computational and medicinal chemistry who are focussed on designing potent molecules with good drug-like properties. We are able to find lead compounds using a variety of technologies and approaches including

  • Virtual screening to identify focussed screening sets
  • Fragment-based drug discovery using biophysical screening of our proprietary fragment library
  • High-throughput screening of our in-house library or of larger compound sets accessed through collaboration.

Once hits are identified, we have a team of skilled synthetic chemists and a state-of-the art synthetic chemistry facility to allow us to rapidly prepare analogues for testing.

The Biology Team

 Our biology lab is co-located with the chemistry lab enabling rapid cycle times from synthesis to screen to design. We have the capabilities to carry out high throughput plate-based screening as well as screening in an expanding array of cell-based assays developed in conjunction with our academic collaborators. We are also developing phenotypic screens based on proteostasis mechanisms.