EU Screening Centre


In the centre of the European Lead Factory is the ultra-highthroughput screening (uHTS) activities serving the wider European scientific community and executed by the European Screening Centre. 
Some of the most advanced compound management, screening and hit characterisation capabilities in the whole of Europe are provided by the European Screening Centre (ESC).

Managed by Lygature, the ESC offers world-class compound storage-and-retrieval, screening and laboratory facilities, as well as input from highly experienced specialists. The aim is to support all those taking part in the European Lead Factory project, and to ensure the best possible research outcomes by exploiting in full the Joint European Compound Library.

Compound management

World-class compound logistics facilities of 1100m2 are provided by BioAscent Discovery Ltd. using their automated compound store in Newhouse, Scotland. Both solids and DMSO solutions can be stored, retrieved and delivered with minimum turnaround time. The facilities were formerly part of Merck Sharp & Dohme research labs, and the facility’s highly skilled scientists and technicians have been retained. BioAscent is responsible for collection, storage, distribution, tracking and HTS logistics (i.e. hit picking and support of follow up studies). All these compound management services and beyond are also available for outsourcing.

Ultra High-Throughput Screening (uHTS)

The Pivot Park Screening Centre (PPSC) is well named, because it acts as a pivot for screening activities. Located in Oss, a site dedicated to open innovation and housing the latest generation robotics, it provides automated cellular and biochemical in-vitro screening expertise. The centre builds on decades of experience in assay development, automation and screening. Opportunities for networking and collaboration are extensive.

Pivot Park Screening Lab


Hit characterization

Hit characterization is provided by the biosciences group from BioAscent, formerly part of the team from the University of Dundee which contributed biological data, medicinal chemistry, informatics analysis and modelling to the screening programmes of the European Lead Factory. The group offers extensive knowledge of the drug discovery cycle over a wide range of target classes based on many years of experience in pharma, biotech and academic drug discovery.

The Biology, Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry teams ensure that Qualified Hit Lists (QHLs) and Improved Hit Lists (IHLs) are of the highest quality and value to target owners, with tailored activities for each programme. Pharma-industry standard facilities combined with some of the latest technologies and expertise supports hit identification and follow-up with biochemical and biophysical data. Design and synthesis of new analogs leads to the development of structure-activity relationships and further work on promising compounds to give more in-depth biological characterisation.

Protein production and crystallography

The Biotechnology group of the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) at the University of Oxford provides protein production support to ESCulab programmes. The group has vast experience in expressing and purifying human proteins for structural and functional analyses using both prokaryotic and eukaryotic expression systems. This paved the way for an unparalleled track record of 1500 high-resolution human protein structures solved and made available in the public domain for the past 14 years.

Consequently, the SGC is globally recognised as a centre of reference for protein production and structural biology of novel, medically relevant human proteins, unveiling pioneering drug target families such as the bromodomain epigenetics regulators and several novel protein kinases.