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Cambridge MedChem Consulting

Bias against interdisciplinary research


When I first started on my career I was only to well aware that funding bodies would reject proposals for having "not enough chemistry" or "not enough biology" but I had hoped that by now it would be realised that multidisciplinary teams were key elements in bleeding edge science. However this recent paper suggests the problem still persists. Anyone who has been involved in drug discovery will understand the importance of interdisciplinary research

Point of View: Correcting the bias against interdisciplinary research DOI

When making decisions about funding and jobs the scientific community should recognise that most of the tools used to evaluate scientific excellence are biased in favour of established disciplines and against interdisciplinary research.

Scientists who leave the safe haven of their home discipline to explore the uncharted territory that lies outside and between established disciplines are often punished rather than rewarded for following their scientific curiosity

Perhaps all funding bodies should read this book

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.

Wellcome Open Research

What is Wellcome Open Research?

  • A platform for Wellcome-funded researchers to rapidly publish any research outputs they wish to share.
  • Supports reproducibility and transparency.
  • Uses an open research publishing model: immediate publication followed by open invited peer review.
  • Includes all supporting data, enabling reanalysis, replication and reuse.

Do Privileged PPI Scaffolds Exist

I've been working with the BioFocus group at Chesterford Park (now part of Charles River) thinking about ligands for Protein Protein Interactions, some of the work was described on a poster at the 18th Cambridge Medicinal Chemistry Meeting held in Cambridge in September this year. The poster is now available online

Protein-protein interactions (PPIs) are ubiquitous in cellular biochemistry; however they are often difficult drug targets to interrogate due to their unique molecular topologies. A consequence is that low hit rates are frequently observed in PPI HTS campaigns and there remains an unmet need for innovative small molecule PPI inhibitors (SMPPIIs). The term "privileged scaffold" was coined in 1988 when core structures were found to bind to more than one receptor with high affinity. This led us to pose the question: “Do privileged PPI scaffolds exist?”


A brilliant group of scientists to work with, many stimulating discussions in a very important area.

Fragment library design: the evolution of fragment-based lead discovery

Latest Publication

Fragment library design: the evolution of fragment-based lead discovery By Dr E. Zartler, Dr C. Swain & S. Pearce
Drug Discovery World Winter 2012/13

With the growing need to streamline the drug discovery process, screening against fragment libraries rather than drug-like molecules has become increasingly adopted as an integral part of many drug discovery programmes. However, success depends on the quality of the fragment library, and many factors dictate quality.

Big Pharma in Crisis

I wrote an article for European Pharmaceutical Contractor on the possible evolution of the Large Pharma companies, it is now available online