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.