Centre of Excellence First for NI

Queen’s University Belfast and Almac Discovery have announced a five-year project to develop a new Chemoproteomics Centre of Excellence for drug discovery.

The multi-million-pound facility, which is jointly funded by Almac Discovery and a BBSRC Prosperity Partnership award, is a first of its kind in Northern Ireland and will be located at Queen’s.

The project combines and harnesses the experience of industrial and academic experts to shine a new light on the way drug molecules could be used to treat disease, by using advanced mass spectrometry techniques to examine their effects on thousands of potential drug targets simultaneously, in disease relevant systems.

This latest collaboration builds on a long-established relationship between Almac Discovery and Queen’s in biological research and early-stage drug discovery. It will leverage the capabilities and state-of-the-art expertise of Queen’s researchers in mass spectrometry and biological research across three Queen’s University research centres.

Securing a Prosperity Partnership award for this project highlights the importance of advanced proteomics in addressing drug discovery challenges which will ultimately make a difference to people’s lives.

Professor Tim Harrison, Vice President of Almac Discovery said: “Creating this industry-facing, university-based facility represents a unique opportunity to provide a step-change in proteomics-based experimental capabilities in Northern Ireland.

“Our vision is to build an internationally recognised resource comprising chemical probes, experimental capabilities, and proteomics expertise which will accelerate the research and development programmes of regional, national and international industrial and academic partners.”

Professor Christopher Scott, Dean of Research, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences, Queen’s, said: “We are delighted to see this new exciting initiative which will drive the research capabilities of both Queen’s and Almac. Our vision is that this Centre of Excellence will become a national asset that can help support broader research and education pipelines nationally”.

The Centre of Excellence will also enhance Northern Ireland’s drug discovery research capabilities, providing skills training for apprenticeships through to doctoral researchers.

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