University of Groningen (RUG)

The group drug design is embedded into the GRIP (Groningen Research Institute Pharmacy) of the University of Groningen and University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) and several large scale facilities are accessible to the Drug Design group, including for example imaging, PET, animal breeding, proteomics. Pharmaceutical research is a multidisciplinary science focused on sustaining health and curing diseases. At the University Centre for Pharmacy both fundamental and applied research is being conducted. Because of the institute’s embedment in the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and due to its physical proximity to the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) it has a unique position that is fully exploited. All research groups at the University Centre have an extensive record of intra- and interfacultary collaborations and participate in national and international research projects. These collaborations not only involve academic parties but governmental and industrial ones as well.

The department of "drug design" is led by Prof Alexander Dömling. It is aiming to design and develop novel biologically active molecules for targets in therapeutic areas of unmet medical need. We are developing new "out-of-the-box" tools such as MCR-based chemical scaffolds to address novel biological targets or software to facilitate design of drugs. As the main tool in chemistry we use and further develop multicomponent reaction chemistry (MCR). Our designer software ANCHOR.QUERY, for example, is helping medicinal chemist to rapidly discover novel (ant)agonists of protein interactions. Several of our compounds we recently developed for the cancer relevant protein protein interaction (PPI) between the transcription factor p53 and its suppressors mdm2 and mdm4 currently undergo preclinical development. For other difficult to drug PPI specialized macrocyclic compound technologies are developed. The targeted approach of the drug design group involves expression of all targets and their biophysical characterisation including a strong structural biology component led by Dr Groves. The drug design group has a strong focus in cancer immunology and is sustaining the think tank immunocancer. The drug design group is a major player of the IMI European Lead Factory and is involved in multiple international collaborations.