Innovative genomics | University of Oxford

Innovative genomics

Pioneering new targets for drug discovery through academic-industrial partnership.

The Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) at the University of Oxford is developing new molecules and reagents capable of delivering new therapeutics. The primary focus is on working within less well studied areas of the human genome, including cancer, neuropsychiatry, metabolic conditions and inflammation. SGC is built upon an open science approach and collaborates closely with nine large pharmaceutical companies, several disease foundations and patient groups. 

The cost of delivering a new medicine is now estimated to be over $2BN with less than 15% of drugs entering clinical trials reaching the market.  The cost of these failures is huge and reducing the number of these failures has never been more important to deliver safe and affordable medicines, with the majority of conditions still having no effective therapy available.  SGC collaborate with Pharmaceutical companies to help them decide more rapidly if new discoveries are worthy of further investment and development.

There are now vast quantities of genomic information been routinely generated, but the knowhow and reagents needed to explore the molecular basis at which potential drugs interact, is still lacking.  Since 2015 SGC’s approach has been to provide tools to do just this, offering the missing link between genomics and chemical biology, these are called Target Enabling Packages (TEPs).  Over twenty of these high quality TEPs have been generated in the last four years, which have been used internationally by researchers. Leading to identification of new biology, disease understanding and ultimately innovative starting points for drug discovery.

SGC’s work with patient groups is performed in the open with experiments being written up in real-time in web based open lab- notebooks. Data and reagents are immediately publically available without restriction on use, helping to reduce the level of duplication of effort within the scientific community and wastage of resource and time.

The SGC team is global and includes collaboration with the Universities of Oxford and Toronto, the Karolinska Institute (Stockholm), Goethe University of Frankfurt and the University of North Carolina.  With the leadership of Professor Chas Bountra Oxford have developed collaborations with Abbvie, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Janssen, Merck KGaA, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer and Takeda.  It also works directly with disease foundations and patients groups including the Canadian FORGE initiative, Genetic Alliance, Alzheimer’s Research UK, CHDI Foundation, FOP action, Myeloma UK and The Brain Tumour Charity.
Since 2003 SGC has built a unique ecosystem for collaborative research, produced more than 4000 publications, accelerated over 100 proprietary programmes and has 40 ongoing clinical projects.  SGC are leading innovation in early stage drug discovery to deliver projects capable of transformational changes to society.

Funded by: The Wellcome Trust, National Institutes of Health, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, and Eli-Lilly.