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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

LONDON, February 4 /PRNewswire/ -- A major centre created by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and MRC Technology (MRCT) in order to fast-track the discovery and development of novel drugs, opens its first call for targets today.

The MRCT Centre for Therapeutics Discovery (CTD), based in London, is seeking small molecule drug discovery and therapeutic antibody targets from academic researchers.

The CTD would like to collaborate with scientists in all universities to develop drug discovery projects targeting diseases for which there is significant unmet need. The centre will apply state of the art computational and medicinal chemistry to produce 'drug-like' molecules with the potential to become therapies. It will also focus on developing novel antibody therapies, bringing to bear its world-class expertise in antibody humanization technology, which has already produced two marketed therapeutic antibodies, with several more currently in clinical development.

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

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

Scientists from academia will benefit from the wealth of the CTD's expertise including provision of tool compounds and reagents (including monoclonal antibodies) for further target validation and characterization studies, in silico screening, and access to medicinal chemistry, screening technologies and ADMET. CTD will also provide academia access to its hybridoma production capability and its extensive antibody engineering and expression expertise as well as its core antibody humanization skills. This initiative will also enable UK scientists to tap into MRC's recently announced Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme (DPFS) and collaborate with a high quality drug discovery capability whilst retaining existing IP ownership.

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

Researchers are asked to visit to request a submission application form for their targets. Capacity for stage 1 on the programme is limited, so researchers are encouraged to submit their targets as soon as possible.

    Notes 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

    - 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.

About Medical Research Council Technology (MRCT)

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

About Medical Research Council

For almost 100 years the Medical Research Council has improved the health of people in the UK and around the world by supporting the highest quality science. The MRC invests in world-class scientists. It has produced 29 Nobel Prize winners and sustains a flourishing environment for internationally recognised research. The MRC focuses on making an impact and provides the financial muscle and scientific expertise behind medical breakthroughs, including the first antibiotic penicillin, the structure of DNA and the lethal link between smoking and cancer. Today MRC funded scientists tackle research into the major health challenges of the 21st century.

    Press Release Reference: MRCT040210

    Contact Information:

    Medical Research Council Technology (MRCT):
    Jan Coates
    Business Development Officer
    MRC Technology
    Phone: +44-(0)20-8906-7183

SOURCE Medical Research Council Technology (MRCT)

SOURCE Medical Research Council Technology (MRCT)
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