Ground-breaking drug discovery research centre opens at Dundee
Oct 26 2023
The University of Dundee has today (Oct 26, 2023) celebrated the official opening of its multi-million pound Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation (CeTPD), by UK Science Minister George Freeman who met researchers behind pioneering studies of potential ways to treat diseases previously thought to be undruggable.
Welcoming the Minister, Professor Iain Gillespie, Principal and Vice-Chancellor at the University, said: “The University is recognised globally in the field of life sciences and this new Centre represents our commitment to further enhancing this reputation.
“It is fitting that the CeTPD is located next to the Tay Cities Regional Innovation Hub, which has been funded via the Tay Cities Region Deal. These sites bring together world-class research and entrepreneurial expertise that will advance and commercialise the breakthroughs being made here. Translating our research into successful spinout companies will only help to further establish Dundee, Scotland, and the wider UK at the centre of the highly competitive life sciences sector.”
TPD, a relatively new field within drug discovery, uses molecules called degraders, or Proteolysis Targeting Chimeras (PROTACs), to remove or degrade proteins in the cell that could lead to disease.
Degrader molecules developed by Professor Alessio Ciulli and his team from the University’s School of Life Sciences, are already being utilised around the world in the quest to develop new treatments for illnesses such as cancer, as well as dermatological and neurological conditions. TPD research has attracted billions of pounds of investment globally in recent years, with Dundee widely recognised as a world-leader in the field.
The new facility, under Professor Ciulli’s directorship, is expected to create a unit that will more than double in size from the current 60 full-time posts, to more than 120 over the next five years, bringing more high-skilled jobs to the area. The Centre was established with the support of several industry partners and philanthropic organisations, including the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust and the Northwood Charitable Trust.
The CeTPD will also support and be expected to create new spinout companies, where exceptional fundamental research is translated into commercial products that can benefit patients across the world. “Targeted Protein Degradation is one of the most exciting areas of science today,” said Professor Ciulli, Director of CeTPD. “Dundee is front and centre of global efforts in this new field. We are one of a handful of institutions leading the world in TPD. Our new Centre enables us to take our science to the next level and offers a pinnacle for training and innovation in TPD research.
“Welcoming the Minister to Dundee has been a huge honour for us all and allowed us to demonstrate the significant scientific and economic impact our work has. The establishment of CeTPD is a milestone moment and will ensure that research carried out here in Dundee is at the vanguard of drug discovery for years to come.”
George Freeman MP, Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, said, “It is a joy for me to be here to signal that in Scotland, something very special is happening.
“This is not just a great UK story but a brilliant Dundee story. There are children born here who will think of Dundee as a city of technology, a city of science, and as a place creating innovations and opportunities for them.
“It gives a new generation a sense that we can cure disease, improve the world, and make Scotland and the United Kingdom safer and more prosperous.”
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