UCSF Small Molecule Discovery Center: Innovation, Collaboration and Chemical Biology in the Bay Area
Michelle R. Arkin, Kenny K.H. Ang, Steven Chen, Julia Davies, Connie Merron, Yinyan Tang, Christopher G.M. Wilson and Adam R. Renslo
Affiliation: Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco; 1700 4th St, Box 2552, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA.
Keywords: Chemical biology, drug discovery, fragment discovery, pharmaceutical industry/academic collaboration, screening,
public/private partnership, tropical diseases.
The Small Molecule Discovery Center (SMDC) at the University of California, San
Francisco, works collaboratively with the scientific community to solve challenging problems in
chemical biology and drug discovery. The SMDC includes a high throughput screening facility,
medicinal chemistry, and research labs focused on fundamental problems in biochemistry and
targeted drug delivery. Here, we outline our HTS program and provide examples of chemical
tools developed through SMDC collaborations. We have an active research program in
developing quantitative cell-based screens for primary cells and whole organisms; here, we
describe whole-organism screens to find drugs against parasites that cause neglected tropical
diseases. We are also very interested in target-based approaches for so-called “undruggable”,
protein classes and fragment-based lead discovery. This expertise has led to several
pharmaceutical collaborations; additionally, the SMDC works with start-up companies to enable their early-stage
research. The SMDC, located in the biotech-focused Mission Bay neighborhood in San Francisco, is a hub for innovative
small-molecule discovery research at UCSF.
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