Scotland’s NPSC and MRC sign MoU to accelerate drug discovery

6 March 2017 (Last Updated March 6th, 2017 18:30)

The National Phenotypic Screening Centre (NPSC) at the University of Dundee and the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) at the University of Edinburgh have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to accelerate drug discovery using stem-cell technology.

Scotland’s NPSC and MRC sign MoU to accelerate drug discovery

The National Phenotypic Screening Centre (NPSC) at the University of Dundee and the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) at the University of Edinburgh have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to accelerate drug discovery using stem-cell technology.

The new ‘Engineering and exploiting the stem cell niche’ hub, funded by the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform (UKRMP) and led by CRM, will further work towards understanding the biology of stem-cell niches.

Niche Hub research is focused on understanding the signals to stimulate cartilage, liver, and neural tissue repair and on developing tools and technologies for real-time analysis of the regenerating tissue.

With eight institutional members and ten post-doctoral research assistants, it focuses on exploiting therapeutically the understanding of the biology of stem-cell niches.

CRM director professor Stuart Forbes said: “Stem-cell medicine is coming of age.

"This is a great opportunity for Scottish Universities to partner with the industry to ensure we can translate excellent science to new therapies that can help patients with chronic disease."

“This is a great opportunity for Scottish Universities to partner with the industry to ensure we can translate excellent science to new therapies that can help patients with chronic disease.”

The collaboration between the two centres represents about £35m of government investment and will allow novel biological discoveries from CRM to benefit from the industrial drug screening infrastructure provided by the NPSC.

The Scottish Universities Life Science Alliance (SULSA) established NPSC with £8m capital funding from the Scottish Government in order to provide new capabilities to develop and screen physiologically relevant assays for academia.

NPSC develops complex assays to systematically screen using large libraries of drug-like molecules to uncover agents that can alter both cells and tissue behaviour.


Image: Niche Hub research is focused on understanding the signals to stimulate cartilage, liver and neural tissue repair. Photo: courtesy of School of Life Sciences.