Drug discovery uses the identified molecular target to test drug-like chemicals, and realise disease impacts. The testing and realisation are the initial steps in the drug discovery process.
Rational design and scientific validation improve the properties of these drug-like ‘hits’ to create therapeutic drugs ready to treat disease in patients. The path of drug discovery, from initial understanding, through testing and development of a drug is referred to as the drug discovery process.
The journey from scientific discovery to drug treatment is gradual. Often it takes decades for a laboratory-based discovery to be turned into a treatment that can be used in patients.
High throughput screening is a gold standard for discovering ‘hits’ during the early stages of drug discovery. The technology uses automation to test hundreds of thousands of drug-like chemicals against a biological target. The ‘hits’ discovered using high throughput screening provide a starting point for the development of new drugs.
The NDDC benefits from the latest in advanced robotic ultra-high throughput screening, addressing a critical early challenge in the drug discovery pipeline. Its quality, capabilities and scale are comparable to global pharmaceutical industry standards, with the flexibility and innovation of academia.
The NDDC is embedded within world-class biology research at WEHI, positioning it to deliver first-in-class, innovative drug discovery projects. The NDDC is active from target discovery to preclinical candidate stage.
The NDDC has a large portfolio of projects, both completed and ongoing, that includes:
Business models are flexible and adapted to the needs of each project and partner. Interested parties should contact Leigh Coultas, Business Development Manager, for an evaluation of how the NDDC could help.
In 2019, the Australian Government announced $25 million in funding and the Victorian Government provided $18 million to help establish the National Drug Discovery Centre at WEHI. These investments support the expansion of the NDDC, opening it to the global medical research community and industry partners, and enabling the retention and recruitment of highly-skilled scientists to operate the facility.
Continued support from the Australian Government through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) provides an opportunity for select Australian academic and SME researchers to access the NDDC’s screening capability at a highly subsidised cost, through a competitive, peer-reviewed process.
The funding builds upon WEHI’s own $32.1 million investment in the centre, as well as previous Victorian Government support and generous donations from AWM Electrical, Mr Mike Fitzpatrick AO and Ms Helen Sykes AM.
A number of subsidised screens are available each year for eligible Australian researchers through the support of a grant from the Australian Government Medical Research Future Fund. This subsidy is available to users from Australia’s academic and bio-pharmaceutical sectors on a fully staffed basis. As a prerequisite, applicants will need to have established a working assay that is HTS-compatible and has been demonstrated in 96-well format.
An expert review panel meets periodically to select the successful applications for subsidised screens.
Learn more about how to apply.
Sign up here to stay up to date with the latest news from the National Drug Discovery Centre.