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About Us

The Centre for Drug Candidate Optimisation (CDCO) is a collaborative research centre based within the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 

We provide expertise and infrastructure in physicochemical property evaluation, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics to multidisciplinary drug discovery teams for improved compound design, selection and progression​. 

Established in 2003, we have collaborated with numerous drug discovery groups that have progressed 28 novel drug candidates into clinical development across disease indications including cancer, CNS disorders, cardiovascular disease and infectious diseases. 

  • State-of-the-art facilities

    Located within the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct, the CDCO occupies custom designed offices and laboratories, equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation necessary to deliver on a wide range of in silico, in vitro and in vivo capabilities.

  • Quality systems

    The CDCO's quality management system has been certified to ISO9001. We undertake high-quality research to industry standards to meet project goals and objectives.                                                                                                                                                

  • Global impact

    We hold long standing relationships with global PDPs including Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi). Through these collaborations, five clinical candidates and a number of preclinical candidates have been delivered.          

Expertise and Capabilities

T​he rational design of new drug candidates relies on optimising many factors including including  potency and selectivity, synthetic tractability, safety, and pharmacokinetic properties to ensure safe and efficacious exposure profiles and convenient dosing regimens. 

This iterative optimisation process focuses on the critical interplay between chemical structure, biological activity, and pharmacokinetic properties to identify and progress drug candidates that are well-positioned for further development.

The physicochemical and structural properties of a drug determine its extent of absorption, distribution throughout the body, and the frequency of administration needed to maintain efficacious concentrations. 

The CDCO uses in silicoin vitro and in vivo methods to characterise the critical parameters needed to inform drug candidate optimisation and progression.

Download the CDCO flyer [PDF]​​​​


Professor Susan Charman is founding and continuing Director of the CDCO and has more than 20 years’ experience working with multidisciplinary drug discovery teams. She has developed a successful model for conducting collaborative drug discovery within an academic environment, providing the quality data needed for compound design and optimisation.

The CDCO team comprises of experienced staff spanning five major functional areas; physicochemical profiling, drug metabolism, in vitro ADME properties, in vivo pharmacokinetics, and bioanalysis using mass spectrometry.

We work with collaborators to tailor study designs to meet project goals and objectives, ensuring that we run the right study at the right time. Our focus is on the timely delivery of high impact, decision-quality data to inform and enhance drug discovery, leading to an enhanced IP position and a greater chance of successful development.

Contact us to discuss your project needs.

Centre for Drug Candidate Optimisation
Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Monash University (Parkville campus)
381 Royal Parade, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia

  • Professor Susan Charman


  • Dr Andrew Powell

    Operations Manager

  • Dr Karen White         

    External Projects Coordinator

  • Dr Michael Campbell

    Chemistry Section Leader

  • Dr Francis Chiu          

    Bioanalytical Section Leader

  • Dr David Shackleford

    Biopharmaceutics Section Leader

Our Team

  • Helena Barker

  • Dr Gong Chen


  • Jackie Harrison


  • Jaya Jayaseelan

  • Dr Kasiram Katneni




  • Dr Rahul Patil

  • Thao Pham

  • Jessica Saunders

  • Dr Alison Thistlethwaite

  • Dr Wen Wang

  • Caithlin White

  • Longjin Zhong


Networks and Support