Scottish funding for ELF-standard assay development

14 October 2016

The Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) has established a fund to help Scottish academics develop ELF-standard assays for their drug targets with the knowledge and expertise at the ESC Newhouse (University of Dundee). 

The outcomes have recently been described in an article published in the renowned journal Drug Discovery Today.

High throughput screening (HTS) requires high quality, robust assays with a good enough window of signal relative to the noise to be suitable for identifying potentially a handful of active compounds amongst hundreds of thousands or millions of inactives. This is the reason for having strict selection criteria on assay quality within the European Lead Factory. A difficulty this presents, however, is that many academics have limited or no knowledge of developing such HTS-ready assays.

The effects of the SULSA initiative show that a regional funding mechanism has, with modest investment, translated basic academic science into drug discovery opportunities, leveraged significant follow-on funding, and provided a new drug discovery training platform for early career scientists.