Target discovery helps identifying drug targets, molecules or molecular interactions at a critical point in a disease-causing pathway that are predicted to being amenable to therapeutic manipulation. The centre aims to link recent advances in genetics, genomics, cell and chemical biology for improved drug target discovery. A more specific focus for refining and validating such targets will provide a better link between traditional "open ended" academic processes to biomedical research and the need of the pharmaceutical industry for accurately defined targets to accelerate drug development.
A multi-disciplinary research team from the Universities of Oxford, MRC LMB, Liverpool, Cancer Research UK and pharma (Forma Therapeutics) has performed structural studies of USP7 inhibitor-enzyme interactions, demonstrating that ubiquitin-specific proteases (USPs) are tractable drug targets for cancer and also other diseases. Professor Benedikt Kessler and Dr Adan Pinto-Fernandez from Oxford’s Target Discovery Institute were part of this study.