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SciLifeLab’s new platform will support early drug discovery and development

SciLifeLab is now launching a national Drug Discovery and Development platform (DDD platform), offering Swedish scientists support in order to advance academic discoveries. The aim is to facilitate translation of innovative projects at Swedish universities towards therapeutic development.

The platform will focus on early drug discovery and Swedish academic scientists will be able to propose projects for development at the platform. With expertise in a wide range of areas the platform welcomes projects developing both small molecules and protein therapeutics.

We got the opportunity to ask a few questions to Per Arvidsson, Platform Director for the Stockholm site of the DDD platform.

What type of support will you offer?

We will offer a toolbox of instrumentation and expertise for early drug discovery and development through eight facilities with expertise in protein production, human antibody therapeutics, biochemical and cellular screening, medicinal and computational chemistry, DMPK (drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics), in vitro and systems pharmacology, as well as biophysical methods for molecular interaction studies. In addition to that, we plan to put in place a national infrastructure for compound logistics and data management in collaboration with Chemical Biology Consortium Sweden.

What types of projects are suitable for SciLifeLab-DDD?

We would like the projects to have an identified target, and a deep biological understanding in the area. They need to address a clear medical need, and it will be important for the Principal Investigator of the group to have a strong desire to develop their research translationally into cures for the patients. Projects can also present a clinical hypothesis of possible improvements to current therapies.

When do you estimate to initiate the first projects?

Hopefully we will be operational in the first quarter of 2014. We are just about to start recruitment of personnel and purchase of equipment. Hopefully we will be operational in the first quarter of 2014.

What are your strengths compared to a company working with drug development?

A clear global trend in all large pharma organizations is to replace, or expand, their internal research through collaborations with academia. We believe that such interactions are best facilitated through an organization like SciLifeLab’s DDD platform that hopefully will represent the strength of Swedish academic research in areas related to drug discovery and development.

How long will SciLifeLab-DDD have governmental support?

We have funding through the current research and innovation bill to end of 2016. Again considering the global environment, funding for early biomedical translational research has to be an integrated, and increased, part of public research funding in order for Sweden to stay internationally competitive and promote basic discoveries to be converted into cures for an aging population.

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