DPFS Resource request (University of Edinburgh)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Scienc


Translation, the conversion of fundamental medical research into practical gains for human health and community wealth, has been a tough nut for the UK medical schools to crack. Edinburgh University has been trailblazing in this important activity. Our recent award of an MRC translator allowed us to take on the services of a well-known entrepreneur who has reorganised our approach and galvanized our capacities. This has already led to the formation of 3 new companies in the last 6 months. However, fully to realise our potential to develop treatments for major unmet needs such as cancer pain, memory loss, mental illnesses, clostridium difficile, heart disease and cancer, we need, firstly, to establish a small team in support of our MRC translator to speed up progress, and, secondly, to build a core laboratory to train and support our staff in their efforts to discover and develop new drugs. Overall we hope vastly to improve the translation of our globally-leading research to benefit people and thus to provide clear evidence that this can be done effectively in a UK Medical School, given the right approach and some pump-prime funding.

Technical Summary

Our long-term aims are to (1) maximise economic deliverables from the massive translational research opportunities at Edinburgh s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine (CMVM), (2) train and mentor a cohort of basic and clinical scientists and nascent bioentrepreneurs in translational biomedicine.
To galvanise translation for patient benefit we have 2 immediate needs:
(1). Our existing MRC Translational Entrepreneur (Dr Howard Marriage) has over 12 months been spectacularly successful (3 start-up companies), but is saturated with opportunities and urgently needs support to realise the full potential. We already have 10 new therapeutic opportunity projects at or approaching readiness for DPFS applications, including novel approaches to chronic cancer pain, metabolic syndrome, memory impairment with ageing, schizophrenia, chronic lung inflammation, menstrual disturbances and stem cells for drug discovery and regenerative medicine; all Governmental/NHS priorities.
(2). Our globally-leading experimental medicine research is ripe for translation but needs professional unit support to develop GLP-standard assays, screening cascades and chemical discovery to find hits and drive (externally funded) links with medicinal chemistry to develop leads and establish preclinical evaluation capacities.
All other facilities exist in Edinburgh, but we need some crucial glue to optimise pick-up and translation from proof-of-concept to lead optimisation and into humans.


10 25 50
Description BioQuarter Fund TRPM8 drug discovery
Amount £40,000 (GBP)
Organisation Scottish Enterprise 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2009 
End 05/2010
Description Investment (Neurocentrx Pharma)
Amount £300,000 (GBP)
Organisation Neurocentrx Pharma 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2017 
End 01/2020
Description MRC DPFS
Amount £418,814 (GBP)
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2009 
End 09/2011
Title Knockout mouse 
Description A genetic knockout mouse has been generated for the study of disease models. 
Type Of Material Model of mechanisms or symptoms - mammalian in vivo 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Research is ongoing 
Title Overexpressing cell lines 
Description Several mammalian cell lines expressing the target gene have been generated. E.coli cells lines have also been generated for protein expression. 
Type Of Material Cell line 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Cell lines used to develop high throughput assay. Protein to be used for structure determionation. 
Title Tissue specific overexpressing mouse 
Description An adiopse-specific overexpressing mouse has been generated to validate the drug target. The mouse be used further to explore the role of the target in disease states. 
Type Of Material Model of mechanisms or symptoms - mammalian in vivo 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The mouse has led to the validation of a novel obesity target. 
Description Drug Discovery Collaboration 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Department MRC Centre for Inflammation Research
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution My research team has brought extensive drug dicovery experience to help develop novel inhibitors for an unmet clinical need. The target and indication was discovered by my collaborator.
Collaborator Contribution The collaboration has brought new insights into a different area of biology. New techniques have been brought into the research group, including assays, surgical techniques and animal models.
Impact MRC DPFS funding for drug dicovery programme. Milestone achieved. Research paper in review.
Start Year 2009
Description P014 - Friedrich/Quantachrome 
Organisation Quantachrome UK Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution In this project an automated analysis tool for the ZLC method with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) is being developed. In this IAA project the first steps for the development of such a system have been accomplished.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of industry needs and key product requirements.
Impact An automated analysis software tool with GUI
Start Year 2010
Title chronic pain treatment 
Description Agonist for TRPM8 as topical treatment for chronic pain funded by SE POC. New funding warded for 6 month chemistry programme from Edinburgh bioQuarter - bridge funding for continuation and talent retention. Now complete 2010. New funding for full team July 2010 from MRC pilot portfolio award. In progress through to end in 2011 
Type Therapeutic Intervention - Drug
Current Stage Of Development Initial development
Year Development Stage Completed 2009
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Impact in advanced discussion with Pharma