Practical Aspects of Small Molecule Drug Discovery: At the Interface of Biology,

19–24 June 2016

Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, UK


A growing number of investigators in leading research institutions and
small and medium-sized companies are expanding from their strength in
disease biology into early-stage drug discovery. However, this move
requires successfully combining the disciplines of biochemistry,
medicinal chemistry, pharmacokinetics and pharmacology, the breadth of
which can present organisational, knowledge and competence challenges for
institutions and investigators.

This interactive, lecture- and discussion-based course is held biennially
and aims to give researchers of any discipline a broad introduction to
the theoretical, practical and organisational aspects of small molecule
drug discovery. Each topic will include a lecture together with
discussion sessions and case histories to develop key aspects highlighted
in the lectures. In addition there will be practical sessions to
illustrate the beginnings of drug discovery programmes, including the
production of target product profiles, compound progression criteria and
scientific strategy.

Feedback from the 2014 course:
“The course covers everything on state-of-art drug discovery in the
pharmaceutical industry. Completely relevant and excellent.”
“The course provided an excellent introduction to many subject areas
covered with further reading suggested for those
requiring more in depth information.”
“I think this course was very comprehensive, it covered all the areas of
drug discovery with excellent depth.”
“Thank you very much for the opportunity to attend such a useful
“Thank you for a great experience during the course.”


The programme will include lectures and discussions covering the
following topics:

  • Project management and organisation of multi-disciplinary projects
  • Target discovery and validation
  • Hit discovery options
  • Fragment based drug discovery
  • Phenotypic screening and mode of action elucidation
  • Screening set selection, storage and quality control
  • Screening cascades, assay development and quality control
  • Data mining
  • Introduction to pharmacokinetics
  • Principles of compound optimisation and case histories
  • In silico approaches to drug design
  • Intellectual property strategy
  • Data packages required for out licensing and partnering
  • An introduction to preclinical and clinical development

Instructors and speakers

Course organisers
Paul Wyatt Head of the Drug Discovery Unit, University
of Dundee, UK
Mary Donnelly MDPharmasolutions, ex-GSK

Guest lecturers
Each year, a prestigious panel of guest lecturers from industry, academia
and established not-for-profit organisations is assembled for the course.
Guest lecturers in previous years have included senior representatives

Astex Pharmaceuticals
BioFocus DPI Ltd
European Bioinformatics Institute
Medical Research Council Technology
University of Dundee
Albany Regulatory Consulting Limited
Imperial College

How to apply

Applicants will likely be:

  • new postdoctoral recruits to already established facilities
  • postdoctoral grade researchers in small or medium sized companies
  • senior investigators considering entering the field
  • recipients, and their staff, of Seeding Drug Discovery project funding
  • established investigators seeking further professional development

course is subsidised by the Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses
and Scientific Conferences Programme. This is a residential
course and
there is a fee of £615 towards board and lodging.

Applications for this course can be completed online. If you have any
problems with the online application process, please contact us.

Please note: Applications
must be supported by a
recommendation from a scientific or clinical sponsor (e.g. supervisor or
head of department). A request for a supporting
statement will be sent
to your nominated sponsor automatically during
the application process.
Applicants must ensure that their sponsor
provides this supporting
statement by the application deadline. Applications without a supporting
statement cannot be considered.

Deadline for Applications: Closed



Advanced Courses are subsidised for non-commercial applicants from
anywhere in the world. Additional, limited bursaries are
available (up
to 50% of the course fee) and are awarded on merit. If you would like to
apply for a
bursary, please complete the bursary section of the online

Please note that both the applicant
and sponsor are required to provide
a justification for the
bursary as part of the application

Bursary terms and conditions

UK Courses (held at the Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton,
limited number of bursaries are available for each course. These are
awarded by the selection committee according to merit. The bursary
covers a maximum of 50% of the course fee, though in exceptional
circumstances an application for the total course fee may be considered.
Where there are many bursary applications, the selection committee may
issue smaller amounts. We cannot assist with travel costs to attend UK

Overseas Courses (held outside of the UK)
limited number of bursaries are available for each course. These are
awarded on merit to cover travel, accommodation and sustenance. The
maximum award for travel (economy class) will be £750.

Bursaries can be applied for as part of the course application form.
will be notified of a bursary award along with their place on
course, usually within one month of the application deadline. The
decision of the selection committee is

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