The MRC-AstraZeneca Centre for Lead Discovery (CLD) aims to support academic researchers in discovering potential starting points for small molecule medicinal drugs.
Academic researchers will benefit from unprecedented access to over two million molecules in AstraZeneca’s compound library, as well as its state-of-the-art high-throughput screening (HTS) facilities.
MRC will provide funding to support up to five projects. As capacity is limited, projects will be prioritised for funding and for time slots within the facility. The timeframe for commencement of the studies will vary, although the expectation is within 12 months of the funding decision.
AstraZeneca may offer to fund a project in its entirety if, based on the application, it considers that route to be the most appropriate funding mechanism for that individual study. In such cases, these will be taken forward through direct collaboration with the company without any further MRC involvement. Applicants who do not wish to accept this offer may continue to seek MRC support through the initiative.
Assay transfer and HTS activities will be conducted at the AstraZeneca facility in Alderley Park, Cheshire, prior to the relocation to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus planned for 2022, with costs met by MRC. Typically, applicants will not be able to request costs associated with this component of the project.
The MRC panel, in consultation with technical input from AstraZeneca, may agree to provide limited funding to support assay optimisation prior to transfer of the assay to the HTS platform. If this work is conducted within the research organisation, AstraZeneca will nominate a contact to provide advice.
Following the completion of the HTS campaign the panel will consider providing:
- additional limited funding to facilitate re-synthesis of tool compounds arising from the screen
- additional in-vitro selectivity data
- preliminary in-vivo PK.
Costs will be limited and the studies will need to be delivered and reported on within a three month window. It is envisaged that these activities will take place at clinical research organisations, but may also be available directly from AstraZeneca or within the applicant’s host institution.
Minimum assay development guidelines
There are a number of minimum assay development guidelines which when considered as a whole will need to provide evidence that minimum requirements have been met prior to application. The less well developed the assay, and the more work that is required prior to transfer to the CLD, the less competitive the proposal will be.
For more detail on minimum assay requirements, you must read the guidance for applicants (PDF, 378KB).