Pathfinder award from the Wellcome Trust

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Posted on 18 March 2016

Dr Alan Richardson, ISTM and School of Pharmacy, has been awarded an 18 month grant from the Wellcome Trust for his project "Discovery of autophagy inhibitors by blocking the Atg5-Atg16 interaction". The grant of £113,096 comes from the Trust's Pathfinder scheme, which supports innovative pilot projects that have significant potential to help develop new products addressing an unmet healthcare need and offering a potential new solution.

Alan Richardson's team is focused on new drugs to treat ovarian cancer. The aim of this project is to develop an assay cascade that can support a full drug discovery programme. There are about 4,500 cases of ovarian cancer in the UK each year, but only 40% of patients survive for 5 years after diagnosis, largely due to failure of chemotherapy through emerging drug resistance. New drugs are needed to combat drug-resistance or to increase the effect of chemotherapy.

The key output will be a data package, and the project is in collaboration with Dr Johannes Reynisson from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, a computational chemist who will help to identify compounds to test, and analyse structure-activity relationships which emerge.