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CRUK Drug Discovery

CRUK drug discovery units continue to progress their portfolio of projects, signing a number of exciting industrial partnerships established by CRT. The combination of their expertise with that of industrial partners helps accelerate drug discovery projects towards clinical trials.


The CRUK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR CTU)

The Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit is the largest academic cancer drug discovery and development group worldwide. Its research strategy is to target the molecular and micro-environmental differences between cancer and normal tissues in the expectation that this will deliver drugs that are highly effective and well tolerated for use in personalised treatment. Comprising 12 research teams, the Unit covers all aspects of new drug discovery and development from cell and molecular biology, molecular pharmacology, tumour modelling, computational biology, hit discovery, structural biology and medicinal chemistry, through to preclinical and clinical evaluation of new agents.

Head of unit:

  • Professor Rajesh Chopra 

Key partnerships established by CRT:
The CRUK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR CTU) set up a collaboration with Janssen Biotech to discover a potential new multiple myeloma drug. Read more.

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The CRUK Drug Discovery Unit at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute

The Drug Discovery Unit builds upon fundamental biology discoveries made within the CRUK Manchester Institute, the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, The University of Manchester and the wider cancer research community.  Integrating medicinal, computational and synthetic chemistry with in vitro and cellular biology, the centre investigates novel drug discovery targets in an attempt to provide new chemical entities for the treatment of unmet clinical needs in cancer patients.

Head of unit:

  • Dr Donald Ogilvie

Key partnerships established by CRT:
The CRUK Drug Discovery Unit at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute signed two deals with AstraZeneca to develop new drugs which target a key protein involved in the DNA damage response, and to test a potential drug target against AstraZeneca’s extensive compound collection. Read more.

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The Beatson Drug Discovery Unit at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute

The Drug Discovery Unit at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute was set up in April 2009 to leverage basic biology research particularly at the Beatson Institute but also from other CRUK funded research and beyond, to translate targets into the drug discovery paradigm.

The unit utilises fragment-based methods of hit identification and lead discovery combined with Structure Guided Drug Design to investigate novel drug discovery targets in its efforts to provide new chemical entities for the treatment of unmet clinical needs in cancer patients.

Head of unit:

  • Dr Martin Drysdale

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