Drug Discovery

The CRUK Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) at Manchester was established in 2009 following a strategic decision to increase small molecule drug discovery alongside the CRUK core funded research institutes in Manchester and Glasgow. We have opened and equipped a new laboratory and recruited a team of 28 biologists and medicinal chemists with a mixture of academic and industrial experience.  The laboratory is underpinned by state-of-the-art bio- and chemo-informatics platforms for drug discovery.  The CRUK Manchester Institute is a centre of excellence for basic and translational cancer research and has provided an ideal environment for cancer drug discovery focused on unmet patient needs.  Over 40% of the novel targets that the DDU have progressed have potential for use in lung cancer.  The new CRUK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence at Manchester and UCL will greatly enhance our interface with cutting edge research in lung cancer. 

The Drug Discovery Unit team has been assembled from drug discovery scientists with an impressive track record of success having been involved in the delivery of over 50 clinical development candidates, 35 of which have progressed to clinical trials and 2, so far, to full registration.  The proximity to basic, translational and clinical research expertise has proved invaluable in the selection and validation of novel cancer drug discovery targets.  One particularly successful approach during the last four years has been the provision of quality small molecule tools to local researchers for target validation studies.  The DDU is also outward facing beyond Manchester and, as well as working with other CRUK Principal Investigators in the UK, we have secured several valuable collaborations with international Pharmaceutical companies – AstraZeneca and GSK – and Biotech companies to progress our projects.  Most importantly, we have now built a robust drug discovery portfolio and have progressed two of these projects to the advanced, lead optimisation stage.  Both of these targets have potential for therapeutic use in lung cancer. 

Our ambition is to deliver preclinical drug candidate molecules for progression into the clinic.  Given the historically high rates of drug discovery project attrition, we need to identify new targets and look forward to attracting more lung cancer drug target opportunities from the CRUK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence at Manchester and UCL. 







Dr Donald Ogilvie

Head of the Drug Discovery Unit at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute.

Dr Ian Waddell (Deputy)

Head of Bioscience within the Drug Discovery Unit at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute.