Monash-led Fragment-Based Drug Design receives major ARC grant

A consortium of researchers led by Professor Martin Scanlon from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (“MIPS”) has received a major grant to establish a new Industry Transformation Training Centre (“ITTC”).

The development is being led by Monash University and will operate in close partnership with Sydney University and Griffith University.

The ITTC for the Development of Tools for Fragment Based Design has received $4.2M in funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC), alongside $5.4M of cash and in-kind support from its 11 industry partners, plus $2.9M of cash and in-kind support from the partner universities.

Professor Scanlon, of the Medicinal Chemistry theme at MIPS, will lead the project. He is currently the Scientific Director of the Monash Fragment Platform.

The Monash Fragment Platform, located onsite at Parkville gives researchers access to fragment-based drug discovery technology for therapeutic targets. The screening uses a cutting edge in house fragment library which maximises chemical space coverage and allows for rapid hit optimisation.

The ITTC seeks to inspire the next generation of drug discovery research leaders. It will provide PhD students and early-career postdoctoral researchers with direct experience in industry partner laboratories, as well as training and master classes in early stage drug-discovery from industry experts.

The projects within the Centre will accelerate research translation and industry engagement by providing a strategy for the screening of a biological target and early medicinal chemistry to elaborate small fragments into more potent compounds.

The Centre will equip trainees with the skills to make key contributions to the sustainability and growth of the pharmaceutical sector and to provide significant capacity to address global challenges for 21st century pharmaceutical innovation.

This is the first successful bid of its kind for Monash University, representing significant opportunity for growth in fragment based design research here at MIPS.

Scientific Director Professor Martin Scanlon said “The chance to establish this world class Training Centre gives PhD students and other researchers experience to further their knowledge in a highly specialised area of drug discovery based research.”

“We believe that this Centre will strengthen our relationship with industry leaders and produce research outputs that can improve drug based therapy such as development of new medications and refining of existing pharmacotherapies

“The ITCC paves the way forward in a goal to improve the health outcomes of Australians for the future.”

MIPS Director, Professor Chris Porter commented “This Centre will provide national leadership and capability in fragment based drug discovery and support the training of the next generation of drug discovery scientists across the country. We are delighted to have the support of the ARC and a range of industrial partners to allow this to happen.”

Contact: Divya Krishnan

Phone: 0466910111

Email: divya.krishnan@monash.edu