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Medical Research Council Technology's Centre for Therapeutics Discovery Opens its First 'Call For Targets' in an Effort to Develop Drugs in Areas of Serious Unmet Need

Thursday, February 4, 2010 Medical PDA News J E 4
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LONDON, February 4 A major centre created by the MedicalResearch Council (MRC) and MRC Technology (MRCT) in order to fast-track thediscovery and development of novel drugs, opens its first call for targetstoday.

The MRCT Centre for Therapeutics Discovery (CTD), based in London, isseeking small molecule drug discovery and therapeutic antibody targets fromacademic researchers.

The CTD would like to collaborate with scientists in all universities todevelop drug discovery projects targeting diseases for which there issignificant unmet need. The centre will apply state of the art computationaland medicinal chemistry to produce 'drug-like' molecules with the potentialto become therapies. It will also focus on developing novel antibodytherapies, bringing to bear its world-class expertise in antibodyhumanization technology, which has already produced two marketed therapeuticantibodies, with several more currently in clinical development.

As such, the CTD is also continuing to recruit and re-employ first classscientists from Pharma companies to build and maintain a high quality drugdiscovery capability within the UK.

In building the CTD, MRCT is helping to position the UK at the forefrontof academic based drug discovery World-wide, creating a Centre of Excellencethat Pharma companies will want to link to and hence maintain a Pharmapresence in the UK.

Scientists from academia will benefit from the wealth of the CTD'sexpertise including provision of tool compounds and reagents (includingmonoclonal antibodies) for further target validation and characterizationstudies, in silico screening, and access to medicinal chemistry, screeningtechnologies and ADMET. CTD will also provide academia access to itshybridoma production capability and its extensive antibody engineering andexpression expertise as well as its core antibody humanization skills. Thisinitiative will also enable UK scientists to tap into MRC's recentlyannounced Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS) and collaborate with ahigh quality drug discovery capability whilst retaining existing IP ownership.

Dr David Tapolczay, MRCT's CEO explained: "This is a fantasticopportunity for academics to have a dedicated centre with which tocollaborate and progress their science to deliver tangible clinical benefit.In so doing, this initiative will help the UK to retain its world-leadingreputation for innovation in drug discovery."

Researchers are asked to visit http://www.callfortargets.org to request asubmission application form for their targets. Capacity for stage 1 on theprogramme is limited, so researchers are encouraged to submit their targetsas soon as possible.

About Medical Research Council Technology (MRCT)

MRCT is the exclusive commercialisation agent for the UK Medical ResearchCouncil, working to translate cutting edge scientific discoveries intocommercial products. MRCT bridges the gap between innovative basic scienceand making medicine. MRCT works to provide drug-like candidate molecules toinnovative new drug targets, and to translate innovative antibody-based drugtargets into potent and selective therapeutic antibody candidates givingpharmaceutical and biotechnology companies new starting points for drugdiscovery and development, based on MRC advances in science. MRCT'sTherapeutic Antibody Group scientists have a proven track record of successin antibody humanization which extends over 20 years and has produced 10clinical candidates and two regulatory approved humanized antibodies:Elan/Biogen Idec's Tysabri(R) and Chugai/Roche's Actemra(R).http://www.mrctechnology.org

About Medical Research Council

For almost 100 years the Medical Research Council has improved the healthof people in the UK and around the world by supporting the highest qualityscience. The MRC invests in world-class scientists. It has produced 29 NobelPrize winners and sustains a flourishing environment for internationallyrecognised research. The MRC focuses on making an impact and provides thefinancial muscle and scientific expertise behind medical breakthroughs,including the first antibiotic penicillin, the structure of DNA and thelethal link between smoking and cancer. Today MRC funded scientists tackleresearch into the major health challenges of the 21st century.http://www.mrc.ac.ukNotes to Editors About MRCT's Centre for Therapeutics Discovery (CTD) - CTD' s Therapeutic Antibody group - no-one else has the capability to raise and humanise rodent monoclonals for clinical benefit. - Within the small molecule arena, our medicinal chemistry capability is extensively Pharma trained, which is not the norm for academic based drug discovery, where most other groups have been built primarily from academic based chemists. This gives us a distinct edge as our chemists have been involved in Pharma quality drug discovery for many years and have brought with them that experience. - The combination of having a small molecule as well as antibody drug discovery capability makes us unique.

SOURCE Medical Research Council Technology (MRCT)
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