The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and the Moulder Center for Drug Discovery Research at Temple University, US, have jointly invested $500,000 in the Drug Discovery Pilot Award Programme to help researchers identify and test chemical compounds that could be candidates for new drugs.

Under the Drug Discovery Pilot Award Programme, URMC scientists will combine their knowledge of the underlying biology of disease with the ability of the medicinal chemists and pharmacologists at the Moulder Center to identify and create compounds suitable for medical research and eventual use in humans.

University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry dean Mark Taubman said that as universities become active in the field of early stage drug discovery and clinical research, the connection they have formed with the Moulder Center will be an essential resource for the university’s scientists.

The fund will support early exploratory studies that include preliminary experiments and lead finding studies, which will enable scientists to produce second generation compounds with improved activity against the target, URMC officials said.

The early exploratory studies will enable researchers to conduct focused preliminary experiments and access high throughput screening technologies that can rapidly evaluate and identify suitable chemical compounds, while the lead finding studies will allow evaluation of compounds to discover whether they have characteristics compatible with the human body.

Moulder Center professor and former Wyeth executive Magid Abou-Gharbia said the Moulder Center for Drug Discovery is focused on advancing drug discovery science through collaborative research and training programmes designed to develop scientific talents of the next generation.

"Our team has the ability to support projects at all stages of drug development, from early stage target validation to candidate selection and pre-clinical safety studies," Abou-Gharbia added.

URMC and Moulder Center scientists are already collaborating on a number of joint research projects in the fields of antimicrobial drug discovery, neurological disorders, and cancer.


Image: The new drug discovery programme funded by URMC and Temple University may develop a new pipeline of potential drugs. Photo: Yassie.