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Cambridge MedChem Consulting

Small molecule High Throughput Screen using AstraZeneca facilities

This is a really interesting opportunity. With the demise of the European Lead Factory access to a large, high quality screening deck is very limited.

The MRC now have a unique funding opportunity, a chance to screen against the AstraZeneca screening deck.

Funding priority in this round will be given to applications related to fibrosis or extracellular matrix targets.

Two funding opportunities a year with new thematic focus each round. Future areas will include:

  • autoimmunity
  • pain
  • motor neuron disease
  • mental health
  • dementias (including Parkinson’s and Huntington’s)
  • women’s health (including related to metabolic disorders)

Often the challenge for small groups is optimisation of the assay to make it suitable for HTS, so it is great this is also to be funded and AZ will provide technical advice

What will funded, costs related to the staff and consumable costs incurred at AstraZencea for the optimisation and execution of the High Throughput Screen (HTS). These include:

  • £20,000 (100% FEC Exceptions) – Optimisation and establishment of an HTS
  • £150,000 (100% FEC Exceptions) – Execution of the HTS
  • cost of travel, accommodation and subsistence for a host institution researcher to work at AstraZeneca in Cambridge for three months (80% FEC)
  • costs for elements of the screening cascade that cannot be undertaken at AstraZeneca and must be undertaken at the host organisation (80% FEC)
  • minimal %FTE for the project lead (80% FEC)

Artificial intelligence, engineering biology and quantum technologies: Funding Opportunity

An interesting opportunity.

Apply for funding for the application of artificial intelligence (AI), engineering biology, and quantum technologies in biomedical research and development.

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for MRC funding.

You can get funding through any grants from MRC responsive mode or translation funding opportunities. You should apply through the existing funding opportunity that is most relevant to your science area and career stage.

We will usually fund up to 80% of your project’s full economic cost.

This highlight notice will be open from 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2025. Applications submitted in this window will be considered for this highlight opportunity. For individual application closing dates refer to the relevant MRC funding opportunity.

BBSRC follow-on fund

Grant funding is a great way of starting of work on novel targets, getting funding to continue the work can be more of an issue. This why I'm delighted to read about the BBSRC follow-on fund to help bridge the gap.

BBSRC follow-on fund.

FoF applications must draw substantially on current or prior BBSRC funding. You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for BBSRC funding.

FoF awards aim to take ideas through to a stage where the route to practical application is clear.

The full economic cost (FEC) of your project can be up to £800,000. BBSRC will fund 80% of the FEC. FoF awards support defined programmes of work for up to two years.

First call for proposals to the Psychiatry Consortium

A new initiative, great to see efforts in CNS diseases.

First call for proposals to the Psychiatry Consortium. Read more about the kind of projects the Psychiatry Consortium is looking to fund on the website

Register here

Funding Opportunities

The GHIT Fund announces an investment opportunity for the Target Research Platform

The GHIT Fund announces an investment opportunity for the Target Research Platform (TRP) in Partnership with the Wellcome Trust. The TRP investments are intentionally broad in potential scope and focus on new technologies and novel approaches.

TRP investments are intentionally broad in potential scope and focus on new technologies and novel approaches. Proposals must be within the project scope and investment eligibility below in order to be considered. The TRP is currently focused on technologies and approaches that address unmet or priority needs within malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and Neglected Tropical Diseases listed in the GHIT Intent to Apply form.

MRC/AstraZeneca Centre for Lead Discovery

The MRC/AstraZeneca Centre for Lead Discovery (CLD) aims to support academic researchers in discovering potential starting points for small molecule therapeutic approaches with a clear line-of-sight to therapeutic use. The MRC/AZ Centre for Lead Discovery will form a unique cornerstone for academic and industrial drug discovery projects by supplying high throughput screening (HTS) infrastructure (NiCoLA-B).

Canada-UK Artificial Intelligence Initiative

The call aims to support innovative and cutting-edge interdisciplinary AI research that encourages the exploration of new interdisciplinary research methodologies, approaches and tools that cuts across at least two of the following research domains:

  • social sciences and humanities;
  • health and biomedical sciences; and
  • natural sciences and engineering (including computational and/or mathematical sciences).

There is also a more comprehensive listing of grant funding here.

Medicines for Malaria Venture call for proposals

MMV has announced a call for drug discovery proposals

1. Compounds addressing the key priorities of the malaria eradication agenda

Novel families of molecules in the hit-to-lead or lead optimization stages are sought without G6PD deficiency liabilities that either:

Kill or reactivate hypnozoites for use as part of a P. vivax radical cure; or have activity against sexual stage V gametocytes and evidence of transmission blocking in SMFA.

2. Compounds having activity against asexual liver and/or blood stages

Novel chemical series with EC50<500nM and which have one or more of the following key features:

A known, novel mechanism of action; An inability to select resistant mutants in vitro; Activity at more than one life-cycle stage; A long half-life (ideally >4h in rodents) and confirmed in vivo efficacy. For advanced series, we are seeking novel compounds with, ideally, a predicted human half-life >100h and a predicted oral single human dose <500mg or an i.m. dose that can be administered in <1mL and sufficient for up to 3 months’ protection in humans.

3. Novel approaches for screening

To help identify new phenotypic and/ or target based hits, as well as confirm activity of MMV compounds on all human malaria asexual blood stages, new screening proposals are sought amongst the three categories below:

Validated Plasmodium target-based assays, ideally with evidence of target essentiality beyond asexual blood stages. Biological validation should be supported by a biological target based screening assay suited for identification of novel chemical series. Novel whole cell phenotypic screening paradigms to potentially identify new relevant chemistry. Asexual blood stage assays for vivax and ovale malaria.

Compounds for Target Identification

MMV also welcomes requests for support to investigate the mechanism of action of compounds:

Call for African proposals

Finally, MMV welcomes proposals from endemic region African scientists focused in the following priority areas:

  1. Compounds with confirmed activity on any antimalarial life-cycle stage. Novel families of molecules with confirmed activity (EC50 < 10uM) and a medicinal chemistry plan that tackles any known or anticipated liability. Priority will be given to proposals that maximize use of local natural products.

  2. Assay development and screening

Innovate UK Opportunity to apply for a share of up to £20 million

Opportunity to apply for a share of up to £20 million to deliver game changing or disruptive innovations with significant potential for impact on the UK economy in partnership with Medicines Discovery Catapult.

More details here

Secure the funding you need to progress your projects towards commercialisation. Use our dedicated grant application team to ensure your submissions stand the best chance of success. Our experienced commercial and scientific teams have connections across industry, academia, finance, government, and research networks – we can help take your projects further towards commercial viability.

I've also compiled a page on Grant funded Research

Wellcome Trust £250m Leap Fund

Today Wellcome announced a new £250m not-for-profit fund: the Wellcome Leap Fund . The Leap Fund will accelerate discovery and innovation, with the aim of delivering breakthroughs over a five- to ten-year horizon.

"We want to take advantage of the surprising, left-field ideas that pose the question 'what if?' and support them in a new way that complements our existing funding structures."

Sounds like the aim is to support more high-risk research.

We don’t expect all projects to succeed, but we think the possibilities are incredibly exciting. And in taking some risks and backing at scale, we think we can deliver transformational developments that will improve people’s lives around the world

Wellcome have also recently announced the Open Research fund

Our new Open Research Fund supports innovative approaches that enable data, code or other research outputs to be discovered, accessed and reused

I've also compiled a page on Grant funded Research

Medical Research: What’s it worth?

An interesting review of economic benefits of medical research in the UK.

This briefing summarises a new peer-reviewed study estimating the economic returns generated by public and charitable investment in UK medical research.

Bottom line , Every £1 invested in medical research delivers a return equivalent to around 25p every year, for ever.

Studies have focused on cancer, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal disease and mental health research

Multidisciplinary Project Award

I'm delighted to hear that CRUK and EPSRC are funding a scheme to encourage research collaborations between different disciplines.

Multidisciplinary Project Award supports collaborations between cancer researchers and scientists from engineering/physical science disciplines.

Applications should ideally include:

  • a minimum of two PIs working in distinct scientific disciplines
  • at least one PI working in cancer research at any career stage
  • at least one PI from an engineering/physical science discipline at any career stage

Applications will be accepted from UK universities, research institutions, Cancer Research UK core-funded Institutes, medical schools and hospitals. The award is not required to be co-located and can be held across institutions in the UK, supporting roles from international and commercial organisations may also be included.

The Medici Effect, With a New Preface and Discussion Guide: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation

The book is the basis for "The Medici Effect," a term coined by Johansson and used throughout various industries to describe innovation that happens when disciplines and ideas intersect.

This might go some way towards correcting the bias against interdisciplinary research

Grant Funding Research

I've just updated the page listing possible sources of grant funding for drug discovery research. In particular I've extended the listing of disease specific resources, these may be particularly useful for rare or neglected diseases.