Glasgow teams up with Imperial College and Generics to speed up drug development

Published: 18 July 2001

The University has teamed-up with Imperial College and the Generics Group to launch a spin out company, Adaptive Screening Ltd

The University of Glasgow has teamed-up with Imperial College and the Generics Group to launch a spin out company, Adaptive Screening Ltd (ASL), which will provide the pharmaceutical industry with a faster and more efficient method of identifying compounds for potential development as drugs. Currently the annual research and development spend on new pharmaceutical discovery is $52b and rising.

ASL offers the pharmaceutical industry an alternative approach - 'Adaptive Screening' - in place of the increasingly discredited high-throughput screening methods currently in use. Adaptive Screening is based on patented core technologies: Adaptive Arrays, Cellular Arrays, Lead Hunter and Adaptive Screening Environment that originate from research carried out by the participating organisations.

The new technology, which involves micro-systems, molecular biology and software developments, will eliminate the current bottle-necks which inhibit drug development by reducing the volume of compounds that need to be screened in the drug discovery process. This process can currently produce numerous leads which all require to be followed up. The ASL approach also provides the ability rapidly to assess promising compounds discovered in the screening process with the consequent benefits in time and cost savings.

ASL combines significant intellectual property with technical expertise in the areas of chemistry, engineering, molecular biology, physics and software. Management and board members will draw on the technical and commercial expertise on the company's co-founders: Professor Jon Cooper (University of Glasgow), Dr Tony Cass (Imperial College) and Dr Darrin M Disley (Generics).

Billy Harkin of the University's Research & Enterprise said: "Despite the recent downturn in the technology sector, Adaptive Screening is the University of Glasgow's second major spin out company within the last month. Two weeks ago we launched the £8m funded 'Intense Photonics Ltd'"

Funding for the venture has been put up by Generics and the company will remain, in the first instance, at Generics' headquarters in Harston, UK. ASL plans to scale-up its technical and commercial activities over the next two years by raising at least £10m of further funding from a combination of corporate investors and venture capital. This will enable the company to expand its operations into custom facilities and rapidly increase the number of employees.

ASL's Chief Operating Officer, Dr Darrin M Disley, said, "The research and development spend on new pharmaceutical discovery continues to grow rapidly. ASL will exploit this growth by providing technology and services that enable drug development companies to get a better return from investment in pre-clinical research programmes. Within 5 years, the company will be in a position to leverage its technology platforms, processes and growing informatics databases to discover proprietary lead candidates which it will then take through clinical discovery activities with co-development partners".

Further information for the media is available at

Media Relations Office (

Note to Editors:

* The Generics Group is an integrated technology, consulting ,development and investment company with an international reputation for successfully exploiting emerging science and technology for commercial markets.

* Imperial College of Science, Medicine and Technology is one of the UK's leading academic institutions and is active in the commercialisation of research. New companies being spun out at a rate currently exceeding one per month encompass the fields of IT/telecomms, biotechnology, bio-informatics and environmental science. The College now has one of the highest research incomes of any UK university (?117 million) and is consistently rated in the top three UK universities for research and development quality.

* The University of Glasgow is a leading UK University with an international reputation for teaching excellence and has one of the largest research bases in the UK. It has an annual income from research grants and contracts of >? 60M and is active in research in fields including medicine, molecular biology nanotechnology and bioelectronics. The University has a strong reputation for commercialising technology and is an equity partner in several of the UK's fastest growing start-up companies including Kymata and Intense Photonics.

For further information contact:

Melville Anderson, Research & Enterprise, University of Glasgow: 0141 330 4266 or

Gordon Macmillan, Research & Enterprise, University of Glasgow. Mobile : 0785 0279970

First published: 18 July 2001

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