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Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences


The folllowing companies and not-for-profit organisations offer services and tools which support drug discovery.


AstraZeneca have a number of offerings under their OpenInnovation platform including:

The Clinical Compound Bank offers patient ready compounds with evidence of human target coverage. The Preclinical Toolbox offers compounds with optimised pharmacological properties for preclinical research to study pathways and mechanisms of disease biology.

The Target Innovation offering include screening sets (for screening at the academic lab as assay ready plates) and the possibility of performing a high throughput screen using AstraZeneca’s facilities, if the research is in one of the areas AstraZeneca supports:

  • Cardiovascular, diabetes and chronic kidney disease
  • Oncology (genetic drivers & resistance mechanisms, immune mediated therapies and DNA damage response)
  • Respiratory (asthma and COPD)
  • Neuroscience including neurodegenerative disease (such as Parkinson’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)) and analgesia

Screening sets include a stratified library of 250,000 compounds, a 17,000 fragment library and a phenotypic/highly annotated collection of 14,000 molecules. Interested researchers will need to submit an online application direct to AstraZeneca OpenInnovation team.

 See recent presentation for further details.

 Alternatively, if your research interest is outside of AstraZeneca’s remit, then there is the option to apply to the MRC for an MRC/AZ Centre for Lead Discovery award.


BioAscent is a provider of integrated drug discovery services and is based in Scotland. BioAscent’s on-demand Compound Cloud service has 125K lead-like or drug-like compounds, which are available for purchase. The structures of all these compounds are available to download and therefore it is possible to custom select a small number of compounds for an initial screen. Alternatively, readymade sets or the whole library can be purchased. BioAscent commercially sourced all of their compounds and so they would come IP free.

Please view this presentation for further details or contact BioAscent



ChEMBL is a database of drug discovery information including compound structures, bioassay and activity data. It provides information about targets, small molecules and antibody drugs, which has been manual extracted from medicinal chemistry literature. The database currently holds information on about 1.8M compounds and 12K targets and allows researchers to identify tool compounds, to understand the known SAR data for a particular target, to gather information about off target effects or to probe for phenotypic data of a set of compounds. 

SureChEMBL is a database of drug like compounds described in patents. All the data has been extracted automatically and it includes details of compound structures.

Please view this presentation for further details about these databases or contact the ChEMBL support team.



EU OPENSCREEN is a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) founded in 2018 by seven European Countries. It integrates high capacity screening platforms throughout Europe, which jointly use a rationally selected compound collection, comprising of 140,000 commercial and proprietary compounds collected from European chemists. The EU OPENSCREEN central office in Berlin, is in the process of being established, and they are anticipating that the first screens using the EU-OPENSCREEN compound collection will take place in Autumn 2019.

Although services and compounds are openly available, funding is required to meet compound, reagent and staff costs. EU OPENSCREEN is happy to help with writing grants for appropriate funding. In addition, they have been awarded funding by the EU to support approximately 12 research projects. University of Cambridge researchers are able to access services from EU-OPENSCREEN although the UK is not a member state of EU-OPENSCREEN. 

Please view this presentation for further details or contact EU OPENSCREEN.



GSK have a number of compound sets, which are openly available to researchers. In addition there are other compounds which could be made available through managed collaborations (please contact Victoria Higgins if you wish to set up a collaboration between GSK and the University of Cambridge).

GSK’s Tres Cantos (Diseases of the Developing World) Open compound sets are:

  • Tres Cantos Antimalarial Set
  • TB Set
  • Kinetoplastid boxes

The Antimalarial set includes 13,000 compounds. The TB Set includes 220 non-toxic Mycobacterium tuberculosis active compounds and TB box contains 3,000 active against mycobacteria. The TB box is usually used for internal projects only, but can be made available on a case-by-case basis. In addition, the 3 Kinetoplastid boxes have active compounds against Trypanosoma cruzi, Trypanosoma brucei or Leishmania respectively and each contain 200 compounds.

These sets can be accessed by signing a standard MTA with GSK. Please contact Elena Fernandez Alvaro or Joel Lelievre for further information.

In addition, the Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation can provide the opportunity for visiting researchers to run research projects at the Tres Cantos Open Lab

GSK have also developed a Kinase Chemogenomic Set (KCGS), which is now being curated and accessible through Bill Zuercher at SGC-UNC.

Please view this presentation for further details



Through their Technology Platform Access Programme (TPAP), UCB are offering the opportunity to work with their world leading antibody discovery platform to develop therapeutic antibodies in different research areas (e.g. but not restricted to, CNS disorders, Fibrosis, Inflammation and autoimmunity).

Interested researchers will need to submit an Expression of Interest form and those selected by UCB will then need to submit a more detailed proposal. Please contact for further details and see the video describing their capability.

Alternatively, there is also an option to apply to the MRC for an MRC/UCB Antibody Discovery Initiative award to develop therapeutic antibodies using UCB’s antibody discovery programme.