SULSA’s Assay Development Fund

SULSA’s Assay Development Fund is actively recruiting innovative molecular targets for which there is a strong rationale for therapeutic potential.

Our aim is to take your basic reagents (recombinant proteins, substrates, cell lines etc.) to develop a high quality screening assay on our robotics infrastructure. Final validation of the assay will consist of screening a well curated collection of ~7000 small molecules, comprising both known bioactives and diverse lead-like structures, to identify potential chemical starting points for drug development and to provide key information to assist in further screening and/or funding. 
We will deliver the developed assay, the associated SOPs and the data back to you, along with the hit compounds.

This results from the screen will help you leverage follow on funding or provide access to the various drug discovery initiatives that are available to the academic community, i.e. MRC DPFS, Bayer G4Targets, Wellcome Trust translational fund, the European Lead Factory, AZ innovation portal etc.

The application process, which is very short and straightforward, can be found here:
Why submit your project?
So far four projects that have been completed through this fund, have gained significant follow on funding from major funding bodies or industry, and provided data suitable for publication.
Five further projects are currently ongoing, and we will be selecting the next round of projects to be screened on 10th April.
Projects represent screening work worth around £25,000, that is carried out for you by a team of experts. All consumables are covered and funds are also now available to scale up protein production within SULSA universities (for example via a core facility).

Summary of what is available through the Assay Development Fund:

    * Consultancy: Initial discussion, guidance and advice on feasibility and potential assay formats
    * Screening: Your assay will be screened by experts on the industry standard automation infrastructure of the ELF
    * Compounds: Pilot screening libraries to validate assays, interrogate hit rates and discover reference molecules for successfully developed assays. The aim is to perform a pilot screen of up to 7000 compounds.
    * A team of Highly experienced Screening Scientists: dedicated assay developers providing expertise and time on each assay development project
    * Training: The fund will give opportunities for Postdoctoral scientists and PhD students from the SULSA PI’s laboratory to get training at the European Screening Centre on the principles of drug discovery, the strategies behind successful assay development and how to operate state-of-the-art screening platforms.
    * Funds for protein production to meet minimum assay requirements: SULSA will provide up to £3000 to allow scientists to scale up the production of their protein to the amounts that are required for the screen.

We hope you find this opportunity attractive and submit your targets!


Dr Denise Barrault
Executive Director
Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance - SULSA