The Southwest Comprehensive Center for Drug Discovery and Development

Project: Research project

Grant Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Advancing new therapeutic targets into innovative drugs is a major translational bottleneck in the southwestern United States. To address this urgent need, we aim to build a critical resource closing major medicinal chemistry resource gaps for our regional drug discovery scientific community. Towards this end, our project aims to deploy the Southwest Comprehensive Center for Drug Discovery and Development (SCCDD) which will provide an enabling collaborative framework for translating basic scientific findings into the clinic. By extension it is envisioned the Center will have resourced interdisciplinary capabilities with an industrialized approach to medicinal chemistry that is more likely to have a significant impact on healthcare. This multiple PI effort assembles existing interdisciplinary teams of scientists with complementary skill sets and significant industry experience. To ensure that the SCCDD can provide a comprehensive offering, we will leverage TGen's existing drug discovery and development infrastructure and strategically network chemistry innovations at the UA. The team has an established reputation and track record of collaboration, and shares a common focused mission: to modernize drug discovery by strategically aligning technological innovations and access to enabeling resources that collectively facilitates more efficient delivery of more effective treatments for the patients in need. The objective of this "Grand Opportunity" is to deploy the necessary infrastructure and resources to reach Center operation status in a two year timeframe. To achieve this objective, we will build an Arizona compound collection, utilizing innovative enabling chemistry, high-throughput screening resources, and a dedicated medicinal chemistry team, overall establishing a functioning flowchart to rapidly expedite compound progression along the value chain. Four units will ensure the process flow as follows. Molecular probe or hit generation will be pursued by a library design, development, and production unit (Unit 1) working in concert with a high-throughput / content screening unit (Unit 2). The capabilities will be completed with a specialized medicinal chemistry unit (Unit 3) operating in either singleton or batch modalities to facilitate compound progression into efficacious molecules with potential for clinical evaluation. These three scientific Units will be supported by an administrative core (Unit 4) managing the target portfolio, making executive decisions for target progression, following projects, and developing strategic partnerships with academic collaborators or biotech/pharma. The SCCDD will leverage innovative technologies taking advantage of synergistic efficiencies in compound synthesis, computation, and screening, for more effective discovery of novel small molecules enabling the translation of targets from multiple therapeutic areas including - but not limited to - neoplastic, metabolic, cardiovascular, immunological, and neurological disease areas. In short, by creating a translational medicinal chemistry presence in the Southwest, the SCCDD infrastructure and resources will widely enable a functional drug discovery process in academic circles and local industry. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The common goal of this proposal is to leverage currently existing high-throughput screening facilities at TGen by building medicinal chemistry infrastructure and library resources at the University of Arizona, leading to the formation of a collaborative, cross-disciplinary network named "the Southwest Comprehensive Center for Drug Discovery and Development". The Center will accelerate the translation of basic scientific findings delivering molecular probes and developing them into more advanced molecules in a broad range of disease areas. The collective team consists of knowledgeable experts with experience ranging from government, academia, biotech and the pharmaceutical sector, sharing the critical mindset of discovering novel therapeutics for the patient in the most expeditious manner possible.
Effective start/end date9/30/0912/31/11


  • National Institutes of Health: $4,851,480.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $2,700,503.00


  • Medicine(all)


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