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  • Oxford Drug Design and PhoreMost collaborate to advance novel cancer therapeutics discovery 22 March, 2023 by admin

    Targeted protein degradation discovery programme to harness artificial intelligence to identify new E3 Ligase-based therapeutic strategies

    Oxford Drug Design, a biotechnology company with core expertise in computer-aided drug design, has announced that it has been engaged by PhoreMost Ltd (PhoreMost), a UK-based biopharmaceutical company dedicated to ‘Drugging the Undruggable®’ disease targets, to accelerate a targeted protein degradation discovery programme for novel cancer therapeutics.

    The project leverages Oxford Drug Design’s proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) computational platform consisting of multiple computational drug discovery capabilities for both ligand- and structure-based design, together with PhoreMost’s next-generation SITESEEKER® phenotypic screening platform and PROTEINi® libraries. In doing so, Oxford Drug Design has analyzed the structural biology data and known binding compounds to identify and advance the development of novel, drug-like, compounds for onward optimization.

    Dr Paul Finn, CSO of Oxford Drug Design commented: “We’re delighted to start deploying our pioneering computational platform and help other companies accelerate their own drug discovery efforts and we’re excited to have collaborated with PhoreMost on this project. Oxford Drug Design’s pioneering AI drug discovery platform has been well placed to make an impact on this challenging target.”

    Dr Richard Boyce, VP Drug Discovery at PhoreMost added: “PhoreMost’s involvement in this project demonstrates the versatility of our SITESEEKER phenotypic screening platform and the potential of our PROTEINi libraries. Oxford Drug Design’s pioneering AI drug discovery platform has facilitated the rapid discovery of small-molecule drugs to newly identified druggable targets obtained from SITESEEKER.”

    The global AI drug discovery market is estimated to be worth $5 billion by 2027, according to a recent report by MarketsandMarkets. With traditional drug discovery being a costly and lengthy process, the highly distinctive AI and machine learning technologies developed by Oxford Drug Design offers the prospect of analysing vast datasets and develop viable drugs in an automated and more cost-efficient way.

  • Oxford Drug Design appoints Dr Richard Cooper as Head of Machine Learning and Prof. Xiang-Lei Yang to its Scientific Advisory Board 20 September, 2022 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design, the Oxford-based AI drug discovery company applying its pioneering AI platform to develop novel molecules for use in cancer treatments, has appointed Dr. Richard Cooper as its new Head of Machine Learning and Professor Xiang-Lei Yang to its Scientific Advisory Board.

    The two appointments strengthen the company’s respective dual core competencies in AI powered drug discovery and the use of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase (aaRS) targets, an enzyme family with a vast range of potential uses in oncology and other major diseases.

    Dr. Cooper is a computational chemist with an extensive career in both industry and academia successfully applying modelling technologies toward molecular optimisation. He has been Head of Chemical Crystallography at the University of Oxford where his research has focused on method development for crystal structure modelling tools and combining chemical descriptors, machine learning models and experimental data to enable interpretation and tuning of properties in molecular materials.

    He received his BA, MA and DPhil in chemistry from Oxford where he also conducted postdoctoral work; he also serves as President of the British Crystallographic Association.

    Prof. Yang is the Ernest W. Hahn Endowed Chair and Professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute. Her laboratory pioneers the field of aaRS on their broad regulatory functions in higher organisms and the context of human
    diseases, including neuromuscular diseases, diabetes and cancers.

    Prof. Yang’s work integrates studies in animal models with 3D structural analysis, biophysical, biochemistry and mammalian cell biology to reveal mechanistic insights and provide therapeutic strategies. She received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Capital Institute of Medical Science (Beijing), PhD in Biophysics and Computational Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Postdoctoral work at Scripps with Professor Paul Schimmel. She is the Co-Principal Investigator of the Scripps Laboratory for tRNA Synthetase Research and a co-founder of aTyr Pharma Inc, (LIFE).

    The appointments coincide with the completion of the first phase of Oxford Drug Design’s lead oncology program, demonstrating the potential of the company’s innovative proprietary molecules to modulate the function of aaRS as a novel approach to cancer. Members of this compound class have shown potent activity against a range of cancer cell lines. Further studies are ongoing, the success of which could deliver a first-in-class, innovative therapy in oncology.

    Dr Alan D. Roth, CEO of Oxford Drug Design, said: “Dr. Cooper and Prof. Yang are leaders in their respective fields and bring a wealth of expertise to our team. Richard joins us having spent his recent career pioneering the use of machine learning in tackling some of chemistry’s toughest challenges and will apply that knowledge to the continued development of our AI platform.

    “Not only have Prof. Yang’s discoveries in chemical biology revolutionised the field, but she also brings years of corporate experience that will be invaluable to our growth ambitions. Celebrating their appointments at the same time as this successful proof-of-concept is a testament to the momentum built up by our hard-working team.”

    Dr Richard Cooper said: “Oxford Drug Design is building something special in computational drug discovery. The application of this distinctive AI platform will have a profound impact on the future of oncology – which can one day enable us to tackle a range of cancers head-on with highly precise, effective treatment, fewer side effects and better outcomes for patients – as well as other diseases. I’m also looking forward to expanding the use of our platform in collaborative research with partner programs, which has great scientific and commercial potential.”

    Prof. Xiang-Lei Yang said: “This is such an exciting time to be joining Oxford Drug Design. aaRS enzymes have the potential to have a profound impact on the treatment of diseases not just in oncology but also in many other therapeutic areas with significant unmet need. ODD are grasping the opportunity with a highly innovative approach using small molecules to be at the forefront of this new wave of drug discovery research.”

  • Dr Aras Asaad presents at the 5th Artificial Intelligence in Chemistry Symposium 5 September, 2022 by admin

    Dr Aras Asaad presented his work in exploiting existing 2D image-based deep learning architectures to capture 3D molecular information at this year’s AI in Chemistry symposium

    Established computer vision deep learning architectures require input in a 2D image format. In order to exploit these architectures, Oxford Drug Design has developed a novel representation which captures rich 3D molecular information in a rotationally invariant canonical form as a 2D digital image.

  • Prof. W. Graham Richards on the origins of the Journal of the Molecular Graphics and Modelling Society 31 August, 2022 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design’s Founder and current Chairman, Prof. W. Graham Richards CBE FRS has recently written an account of the origins of The Journal of Molecular Graphics, now the Journal of the Molecular Graphics and Modelling Society. First published in 1983, the journal continues to thrive today nearly 40 years later.

    The article is available to read online and in the December issue of the Journal of the Molecular Graphics and Modelling Society.





  • Oxford Drug Design attending the 28th tRNA Conference 2022 10 June, 2022 by admin

    Paul Finn, CSO, will be attending the 28th tRNA Conference, 12-16 June 2022 in Columbus, Ohio, USA.  On 13 June at 4:45pm EST Paul will be participating in a Panel Discussion on “Emerging Opportunities in tRNA Therapeutics”, which will showcase the emerging opportunities for translational science and entrepreneurism in tRNA-related therapeutics and biotechnology across multiple therapeutic areas and treatment modalities.  This is an exciting area with untapped therapeutic potential in which Oxford Drug Design is taking a leading position.

  • Oxford Drug Design to Present at ASM Microbe 2022 10 June, 2022 by admin

    Paul Finn, CSO, will be attending ASM Microbe 2022, 9-13 June in Washington D.C. USA and making an Oral Presentation on Saturday 11 June at 14:15 EDT entitled “Discovery of potent Gram-negative antibacterials targeting leucyl-tRNA synthetase”. The presentation will describe the work at Oxford Drug Design that has led to the identification of multiple new inhibitor chemotypes with Gram-negative spectrum of action using its in-house computational chemistry and machine learning expertise.

  • Oxford Drug Design receives $2.7 (£2.2) million in bridge round commitments 19 May, 2022 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design Limited (ODD), a biotechnology company with a proprietary computational and machine learning platform, has raised $2.7M (£2.2M) in funding from existing investors ACF Investors, o2h Ventures, Jonathan Milner, a number of returning angels and new investors and the US-based R42 Group. This brings the firm’s total amount of grant and equity funding to over $12 M (£10M).

    A spinout of Oxford University, ODD has been at the forefront of computer-aided drug design with its pioneering, dual-track AI proprietary platform for drug discovery. The company has recently entered an oncology expansion phase accelerated by its two core competencies: world-leading expertise in the versatile aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase enzymes and its AI/machine learning computational capabilities. These capture molecular and biological features which enable machine learning models with increased predictive power and accuracy of molecule selection. The company is currently focused on unmet therapeutic needs in oncology, initially against lung and colorectal cancers.

    This growth capital will enable ODD to further its drug research and discovery starting with a proof-of-concept study to validate its pioneering, innovative approach against cancer. It will also establish a new commercial offering of its proprietary AI platform to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. OOD’s validated platform is in increasing demand from third parties in the pharmaceutical space and is already generating revenue separately from the company’s direct work in oncology drug discovery. The investment will also go towards operational purposes and further expansion ahead of a Series A investment round this year.

    Alan D. Roth, CEO of Oxford Drug Design said: ”This latest funding will enable us to build on and accelerate our successful computational design-led discovery focus. We are excited to be playing a pivotal role in the innovation of oncological treatments leading to better outcomes for cancer patients worldwide. Our groundbreaking new approach stands to be initially validated by the proof-of-concept studies. We are achieving rapid progress not only with our industry-leading drug discovery programme, but also our proprietary AI platform. This has led to increasing interest from third parties in our machine learning capabilities, so we are keen to capitalise on this demand and establish a commercial effort in this area”.

    Tim Mills, Managing Partner of ACF Investors said: “The team at Oxford Drug Design have created a pioneering platform that is enabling truly innovative drug discovery. It is exciting to see them initiating their proof-of-concept study. It is additionally no surprise that companies operating in the space have identified the opportunity of using its proprietary machine learning technology. We are delighted to continue to support ODD – It is a testament to the strength of the company’s technology and team that all of the existing investors and angels have participated in this follow-on round, which will supercharge their expansion globally and enable key strategic hires.”

  • Dr. Grace Edmund presents at ICARe 1 November, 2021 by admin

    Dr. Grace Edmund was selected to attend the Interdisciplinary Course on Antibiotics and Resistance (ICARe) hosted by Les Pensières Center for Global Health. This interdisciplinary course brought together leading academics and industry scientists with early career researchers to provide advanced instruction on antibiotics and resistance. While in attendance, Grace presented her work on ODD’s novel inhibitors of Leucyl-tRNA synthetases.

  • Oxford Drug Design attends the CARTNET Symposium 8 October, 2021 by admin

    Marco Albanese recently presented his work in designing novel histidine kinases inhibitors at the CARTNET Symposium in Valencia. He described using Oxford Drug Design proprietary software to optimize fragments targeting the ATP-binding domain of histidine kinases. His work has led to the identification of novel molecules with potential anti-virulence activity.

  • Oxford Drug Design welcome new CEO Dr. Alan D. Roth 17 November, 2020 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design Board of Directors announces the appointment of Dr. Alan D. Roth Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.

    Alan takes over the position from Dr. Paul W. Finn, who will remain with the company as Chief Scientific Officer.

    Alan’s career in health sciences comprises executive operations, academic research, investment management/capital markets and strategic consultancy. He started his career at Merck & Co. in New Lead Discovery, before moving into consultancy at McKinsey serving leading companies globally. He was Director at Commerzbank Asset Management in charge of global healthcare investments and industrial investment research. He co-founded, took public and was the first CEO and CFO of Chiral Quest, a life sciences company in the area of chiral pharmaceuticals. He is also currently Director at Fitzroy Partners in London developing new life sciences ventures.

    Dr. Finn said, “Oxford Drug Design’s unique combination of computational drug design technology and therapeutic pipeline is progressing rapidly.  Alan brings key knowledge and expertise that will be instrumental to the company’s growth and development.  I am greatly looking forward to working with Alan to take Oxford Drug Design to the next level”.

    Dr. Roth said “I am delighted to be joining the team at Oxford Drug Design and look forward to building further on the significant achievements made thus far. In our next stage of development ODD can deliver important impact across selected therapeutic and the related computational areas”

    Alan earned his BA (Hons) from Cornell University, PhD in organic chemistry from Columbia University and Postdoctoral Fellowship in medicinal chemistry from the University of Oxford. He is Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence and Visiting Lecturer at Oxford in science entrepreneurship.

  • Oxford Drug Design at virtual conferences 26 October, 2020 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design recently attended both the virtual 3rd RSC-BMCS / RSC-CICAG Artificial Intelligence in Chemistry and UK-QSAR Autumn 2020 meetings.

    Dr Jerome Wicker presented a poster on AIScape, a machine learning platform for activity and ADME predictions.

  • Prof. Graham Richards speaks to Biospring 16 October, 2020 by admin

    Prof. Graham Richards recently spoke to Dr. Michelle Dipp, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Biospring, on the topic of computer-aided molecular design.

  • Oxford Drug Design shortlisted for CogX 2020 award for ‘Best AI Product in Health’ 8 June, 2020 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design is proud to have been shortlisted for this year’s CogX award for ‘Best AI product in health’.

    CogX is an annual festival of AI and emerging tech that brings together leaders, entrepreneurs, and policy makers from all sectors to address the problems of the future.

    CognitionX aims to educate and promote AI across all organisations and help ensure a safe and responsible transition to an AI-driven society.

  • Meet ODD at these spring events 19 February, 2020 by admin

    Unfortunately due to COVID-19 the events listed have been cancelled. We look forward to meeting you at future events.

    Oxford Drug Design will be presenting at four events over the next two months:

  • Oxford Drug Design wins UK-China AMR grant and boosts funding with investment from the Angel CoFund 5 November, 2019 by admin

    Oxford University biotech spin-out receives over £2 million to take its drug discovery programme to the next level.

    Oxford Drug Design Limited (ODD), a biotechnology company with a proprietary computational and machine learning platform, has raised a combined £2.2M in funding from the Angel CoFund (ACF), o2h Ventures and other new investors, and grant funding from the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)’s UK-China research competition. This brings the firm’s total amount of grant and equity funding raised in 2019 to over £9M.

    This growth capital will enable ODD to further its drug research and discovery efforts, with the DHSC grant specifically funding its latest project to develop cutting-edge solutions that will tackle critical issues of anti-microbial resistance (AMR) in humans and animals.

    In partnership with the University of Portsmouth and Chinese partners Huazhong Agricultural University and Wuhan HVSEN Biotechnology Co. Ltd, this project aims to discover and develop novel small molecule drugs, traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) and TCM components for the treatment of bacterial infections in pigs using an approach that minimizes the risk of development of resistance to antibiotics used for the treatment of people.

    Earlier this year the firm recently won prestigious grants from CARB-X, a global partnership dedicated to accelerating antibacterial research to tackle the rising threat of drug-resistant bacteria, and another award from DHSC to advance its lead antibacterial project with a combined value of over £7M (

    Paul Finn, CEO of Oxford Drug Design said: ”This latest funding further validates our computational design-led focus that has enabled rapid progress in building our pipeline of novel antibiotic programmes. We are excited to be working with partners in the UK and China to develop a novel solution to the major challenge of supporting animal health without contributing to the rise of AMR in human infections, with potential benefits food production and human health worldwide.”

    Tim Mills, Investment Director of the Angel CoFund said: “The team at Oxford Drug Design are advancing swiftly with their pioneering programme, and winning major international funding and attracting private equity funding provide strong validation of the work they are undertaking. Antimicrobial resistance is a growing issue for the global healthcare system which only a small number of innovative companies are working to solve, so we are delighted to support ODD’s pioneering efforts.”

    The research at the University of Portsmouth is being led by microbiologist Dr Roger Draheim. He said “There is a degree of urgency to overcome increased resistance to many commonly prescribed drugs and it is very exciting to be working on developments that could directly limit the initial generation of resistance at its source. This funding also further lends credibility to our in-house small molecule high-throughput in vivo screening strategies.”

    About Oxford Drug Design
    Oxford Drug Design is based in Oxford, UK. Founded in 2001 as a spin-out company from the Oxford University Chemistry Department by its Chairman, Professor Graham Richards, the company has developed a suite of proprietary computer-aided drug design and machine learning technologies and unique 3D chemical database technologies. Oxford Drug Design applies these technologies to its internal drug discovery portfolio, which is focused on the anti-infective therapeutic area. These computer-aided design and machine learning methods enable the company to solve problems that have proven challenging to the industry, such as obtaining activity against drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria.
    To find out more please visit

    About the Angel CoFund
    Launched in 2011, the Angel CoFund (ACF) is a privately managed and commercially focused institution that works alongside groups of business angels to invest in high potential SMEs across the UK, directly providing funding as well as encouraging the expansion and development of the business angel market.

    To date the ACF has supported almost 90 companies (for example Ebury, Gousto, Crowd Vision and Hopster) providing more than £45 million in direct investment alongside more than £250m from business angels and other investors, making it one of the most active early stage investors in the country.

    The ACF is a long-term investor and, in aggregate, sets aside £1 of further capital for every £1 it invests. This model gives portfolio companies and co-investors the support they need to propel strong growth.

    To find out more, please visit

  • Oxford Drug Design presents at CDD 2019 Autumn Seminar Series 14 October, 2019 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design recently attended an event at the Said Buisness School, in Oxford showcasing the latest developments of Collaborative Drug Discovery’s compound informatics system and ELN.

    Dr Michael Charlton spoke about our antibacterial projects and how Oxford Drug Design are integrating the collaborative features of CDD into our workflow.

  • Oxford Drug Design receives over £8m in grant and equity investment 18 June, 2019 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design announced today success in securing funds, totalling over £8m, from the Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X), the UK Department of Health and Social Care Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) and equity investment led by o2h Ventures.

    These funds will be used to advance our dual-target aminoacy-tRNA synthetase inhibitor (DaaRSi) project, which is developing new antibiotics effective against drug-resistant ‘Superbugs’ and to continue development of our proprietry machine learning platform to tackle other valuable pharmaceutical targets.

    CARB-X, the world’s largest public-private partnership focused on funding the advancement of Gram-negative antibiotics, has agreed to back the DaaRSi project with a milestone dependent, non-dilutive, award for over £5m. This will be further accelerated by an award of £2M from the DHSC SBRI funding stream and equity investment led by o2h Ventures, which launched Britain’s first therapeutics and AI fund earlier this year.

  • Dr Michael Charlton presents at CCG’s European User Group Meeting 28 May, 2019 by admin

    Dr Michael Charlton recently presented our work in designing novel aminoacyl tRNA synthetase inhibitors at the Chemical Computing Group’s European User Group meeting in Oxford.

    Michael showed how we use CCG’s MOE modelling software in combination with our own ligand-based virtual screening methods to design novel inhibitors of leucyl tRNA synthetase.

  • Oxford Drug Design attends Fragments 2019 27 March, 2019 by admin

    Marco Albanese recently presented a poster on using fragment-based approaches to discover compounds targeting the ATP-binding domain of bacterial histidine kinases at the 7th RSC-BMCS Fragment-based Drug Discovery meeting in Cambridge. Bacterial histidine kinases (HKs) are part of two-component systems (TCSs), the most widespread means by which bacteria sense and adapt to external and internal stimuli. 

    For more information on this work and to see Marco’s poster, Contact us.

  • Oxford Drug Design attends the 2nd SCI/RSC Symposium on Antimicrobial Drug Discovery 14 November, 2018 by admin

    Prof. Paul Finn presented on a major cause of failure of antibacterial drug discovery projects, failure to accumulate sufficiently at the site of action to obtain an antibacterial effect, at the 2nd SCI/RSC Symposium on Antimicrobial Drug Discovery.

    Prof. Finn reviews attempts to address this issue through greater understanding the structural basis for penetration and the identification of rules for the regions of chemical property space that are compatible with antibacterial activity.

    Our own work, building machine learning models based on 3D molecular representations from a ligand-based perspective, is also considered.

    For more information, or a copy of Paul’s slides, please Contact Us.

  • Oxford Drug Design attends the Theory and Modelling in Chemical Sciences Annual Symposium 6 July, 2018 by admin

    Dr Paul Finn attended the theory and modelling chemical sciences annual symposium in Bristol.
    The theory and modelling in chemical sciences centre for doctoral training comprises of academics form Oxford, Southampton and Bristol. Its aim is advance the theory and computer modelling methods as applied in chemical and allied sciences. TMCS has a number of partner organizations, including Oxford Drug Design which participate in the Centre through teaching and joint research projects.

  • Oxford Drug Design attends the JPI-AMR workshop in Oxford 24 May, 2018 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design attended the JPI-AMR workshop on “Getting small drug-like molecules into Gram-negative bacteria”. This workshop provided an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas on the many factors influencing uptake and persistence of drug-like compounds into Gram-negative bacteria with others working in this field.

    Dr. Michael Charlton presented on our work to model bacterial penetration data extracted from the ChEMBL database. The work shows minimal difference in physical properties between antibacterial and non-antibacterial compounds, in contrast to literature studies of smaller data sets. However, analysis of the database using our proprietary ElectroShape descriptors shows regions of chemical space that are rich in antibacterials whilst other zones have a surplus of non-antibacterial molecules.

    For more information, or a copy of Michael’s slides, please Contact Us.

  • Oxford Drug Design attends CCG’s European User Group Meeting and Conference 18 May, 2018 by admin

    Dr. Jerome Wicker recently presented our latest work on the effect of charge and conformation on enrichment of DUD-E targets. Using both our own in-house ElectroShape compound descriptors and other commercially available descriptors, Jerome demonstrated how different conformer generation methods and partial charge models can improve the ranking of actives and decoys for targets in the DUD-E dataset.

    For more information, or a copy of Jerome’s slides please, Contact us.

  • Dr. Pamela Brown FRSC joins the Oxford Drug Design Scientific Advisory Board 11 May, 2018 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Pamela Brown FRSC to the company’s Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Brown has over 30 years’ experience in anti-infective drug discovery. Pam has previously led medicinal chemistry teams in hit to lead and lead optimisation phases of drug discovery at GlaxoSmithKline and legacy companies. In 2008, Pam joined BioFocus, where she co-led integrated drug discovery projects towards a variety of targets. Pam joined Cantab Anti-infectives as director of medicinal chemistry in 2012, leading the medicinal chemistry team towards novel polymyxins, resulting in a commercial deal with Spero Therapeutics in 2016 and the selection of a preclinical candidate in 2017. Since 2017, Pam has operated as an independent consultant in antibacterial drug discovery and medicinal chemistry with clients in the UK, Europe and the US. 

  • Prof. Graham Richards has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society 9 May, 2018 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design Chairman and Co-founder Prof. W. Graham Richards has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. Fellowship is awarded in recognition of Graham’s substantial contribution to the fields of computational chemistry and computer-aided molecular design. The Royal Society is the oldest national scientific institution in the world and is dedicated to promoting excellence in science.

  • Prof. Graham Richards awarded the Richard J. Bolte Sr. Award for Supporting Industries 2 May, 2018 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design Chairman and Co-founder Prof. W. Graham Richards has been awarded the Richard J. Bolte Sr. Award for Supporting Industries. This award honours those who provide products or services vital to the continuing growth and development of the chemical and molecular sciences community. Graham has been recognised for his pioneering work in the field of computer-aided molecular design for industrial applications and long standing commitment to the commercialization of technologies. 

  • Oxford Drug Design attends the Joint UK-QSAR/MGMS meeting 12 April, 2018 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design attended the joint UK-QSAR/Molecular Graphics and Modelling Society (MGMS) conference on the theme of “Structure Activity Relationships”. Dr Grace Edmund presented the latest developments on our work using the Molecular Mechanics/Generalized Born – Volume Integral (MM/GB-VI) approach to predict ligand-protein binding affinities for a set of E. coli LeuRS inhibitors.

  • Oxford Drug Design in Chemistry World 8 March, 2018 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design has contributed to an article in the March edition of Chemistry World. The article, entitled “Countdown to the last antibiotic” written by science writer and lecturer Clare Sansom, focuses on where the next generation of antibiotics might come from and describes many of the barriers faced by those working in the field. The major role of small biotech companies, following the withdrawal of many big pharma companies from antibiotics R&D, is a feature of the article, illustrated by the innovative work at Oxford Drug Design to identify new classes of antibiotics with novel mechanisms of action.

  • N-Leucinyl Benzenesulfonamides as LeuRS Inhibitors 18 January, 2018 by admin

    ODD scientists and collaborators have published a research paper describing the discovery of a new class of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase inhibitors, N-Leucinyl benzenesulfonamides. The binding of inhibitors to the enzyme was measured by using isothermal titration calorimetry. This provided information on enthalpy and entropy contributions to binding, which, together with docking studies, were used for structure–activity relationship analysis. Enzymatic assays revealed that N-leucinyl benzenesulfonamides display remarkable selectivity for E. coli leucyl-tRNA synthetase compared to S. aureus and human orthologues. The simplest analogue of the series, N-leucinyl benzenesulfonamide, showed the highest affinity against E. coli leucyl-tRNA synthetase and also exhibited antibacterial activity against Gram-negative pathogens, which renders it as a promising template for antibacterial drug discovery.

    Read the full article published in ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters.

  • Oxford Drug Design attends Medicines Discovery Catapult’s Antimicrobial Resistance Workshop 16 January, 2018 by admin

    Dr. Michael Charlton presented a review of literature analyses of the physical properties of antibacterial compounds. This included an emphasis on our own work, extending past studies to include a much greater number of antibacterial compounds, which shows that the properties of antibacterials are not significantly different from non-antibacterial compounds. Michael touched on how we are extending the work with machine learning studies combined with our in-house ElectroShape compound descriptors.

    The workshop was attended by about 75 delegates from across industry and academia and consisted of lectures, panel discussions and round-table discussions spread over a day-and-a-half. For more information, or a copy of Michael’s slides, please Contact Us.

  • CARTNET Begins – Oxford Drug Design starts work on AMR training network 1 January, 2018 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design has started work on a new €3.4 Million Horizon 2020 Marie Curie European Training Network – CARTNET, “Combating Antimicrobial Resistance Training Network”.

    CARTNET brings together 13 academic and industrial research groups from 8 countries and will contribute to delivering solutions to the challenges of bacterial infectious diseases that affect both humans and animals.

    Oxford Drug Design will use its state-of-the-art drug discovery tools to optimize existing inhibitors of the novel class of antibacterial targets, histidine kinases, and to aid the discovery of new ones. The ultimate aim is to develop antibacterial compounds with a good resistance profile as candidate novel antibiotics.

    The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 765147.

  • Oxford Drug Design present on novel LeuRS inhibitors at aaRS2017 6 November, 2017 by admin

    Dr. Michael Charlton and Dr. Grace Edmund recently reported our work in the design of novel compounds to target the synthetic active site of Leucyl-tRNA synthetase (LeuRS), responsible for the aminoacylation reaction. The critical role of this site presents a significant barrier to the development of viable mutations and makes it an attractive target for antibacterial drug discovery.

    Our presentation showcased our low molecular weight series of inhibitors that bind strongly to LeuRS without the need for an adenosine mimic. The compounds are good inhibitors of Gram-negative enzymes and have promising antimicrobial activity.
    We also presented a poster outlining our work on using the Molecular Mechanics/Generalized Born – Volume Integral (MM/GB-VI) approach to predict ligand-protein binding affinities for a set of E. coli LeuRS inhibitors.

  • Oxford Drug Design win EU support for antibacterial research 10 October, 2017 by admin

    The European Commission has awarded 3.4 Million Euro under the Horizon 2020 programme to a new Marie Curie European Training Network – CARTNET, “Combating Antimicrobial Resistance Training Network”, in which Oxford Drug Design is a consortium partner.
    CARTNET brings together 13 academic and industrial research groups from 8 countries and will contribute to delivering solutions to the challenges of bacterial infectious diseases that affect both humans and animals.

    This award is further recognition of the innovation that Oxford Drug Design is bringing to the search for new antibacterials. Oxford Drug Design will use its state-of-the-art drug discovery tools to optimizing existing inhibitors of the novel antibacterial target, histidine kinase, and the discovery of new ones. The ultimate aim is to develop antibacterial compounds with a good resistance profile as candidate novel antibiotics.

    The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 765147.

  • Prof. David Livermore joins the Oxford Drug Design Scientific Advisory Board 18 July, 2017 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design is pleased to announce the addition of Prof. David Livermore to our Scientific Advisory Board.

    David Livermore gained his BSc in 1978 and his PhD in 1983. He worked at the London Hospital Medical College from 1980 until 1997 when he joined the Health Protection Agency (now Public Health England), becoming Director of its Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring and Reference Laboratory in 1998. In October 2011 he moved to become Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of East Anglia but still retains sessions at Public Health England as its Lead on Antibiotic Resistance. He has broad interests on the mechanisms, evolution and dissemination of antibiotic resistance and its relationship to antibiotic usage. He is very active in the field of antibiotics and resistance and is a member of the UK Government’s Antimicrobial Resistance & Healthcare Infections Advisory Committee. He publishes and speaks widely on resistance and has edited for several journals including Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Journal of Medical Microbiology and International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.

    Outside of work he is a keen walker and, in 2016, completed a 3000-mile route that has taken him right around the perimeter of England.

  • James B. Kahn, M.D. FIDSA, joins the Oxford Drug Design Scientific Advisory Board 29 June, 2017 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design is pleased to announce the appointment of James B. Kahn, M.D. FIDSA, to the company’s Scientific Advisory Board.

    Dr. Kahn has deep and extensive knowledge of antibacterial drug development. He is Board-certified in both I.M. and I.D. After 18 years in the solo private practice of I.D. Medicine, James was recruited by Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical to be the first Director of their new I.D. Franchise. In addition to running numerous clinical trials for the antimicrobial FLOXIN, he also took over the clinical development of LEVAQUIN and was responsible for the sNDAs that led to 8 new FDA-approved indications. He proposed and then developed the higher-dose, shorter-course approach to accelerate pathogen eradication and reduce anti-bacterial exposure.

    James is the founder and principal of JBK Strategic Consultations, LLC, a small firm providing Infectious Disease expertise to the Pharmaceutical, Venture Capital, and Medico-legal communities. He attends numerous national and international I.D. meetings and maintains close personal and professional contacts with many US and global opinion leaders.

  • InhibOx relauches as Oxford Drug Design 10 May, 2017 by admin

    InhibOx has relaunched as Oxford Drug Design to reflect its transition to a biotechnology company focused on internal drug discovery. Our lead antibacterial programme has identified compounds with the potential to be developed into therapies for Gram-negative bacterial infections, including against strains resistant to multiple current antibacterial drug classes. In the European Union alone, drug-resistant bacteria are estimated to cause 25,000 deaths and cost more than $1.5 billion every year in healthcare expenses and productivity losses. Compound design is supported by a proprietary technology platform in cheminformatics, 3D molecular similarity and computer-aided drug design that has been built up over 10 years of research and development.

    The potential of our programme has been validated by the award of a prestigious Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst grant to accelerate programme progression.

  • Oxford Drug Design secures $1.9m financing 1 April, 2017 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design has raised nearly $2m (£1.5m) of private investment to enable it to progress a novel antibacterial programme and continue to build its proprietary platform.
    The funding, which will also help finance the company’s commercial and research and development (R&D) activities, was supported by both existing shareholders including IP Group plc as well as new investors including Busolantix Investment SA, O2h Ventures and a number of Business Angels.

    Oxford Drug Design will continue to build and utilise its proprietary technology platform in cheminformatics, 3D molecular similarity and computer-aided drug design, in parallel with progressing the antibacterial programme.

  • Oxford Drug Design starts work on $1.1m project to fight drug-resistant bacteria 1 March, 2017 by admin

    Oxford Drug Design (formerly InhibOx) has started work on a $1.1m (£900k) grant funded project to develop novel antibiotics. The project started four years ago as part of an EU-funded collaboration into multi-drug resistance. Capitalising on drug design, chemical synthesis and biology skills across the consortium, they have discovered new molecules with activity against a range of Gram-negative bacteria. The new money comes from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, as part of the biomedical catalyst fund and will be used to design dual target inhibitors of aminoacyl tRNA synthetases for the treatment of multi-drug-resistant infections.


    The compounds discovered so far inhibit a member of the tRNA synthetase family which plays a key role in protein biosynthesis. They have activity against a range of Gram-negative bacteria but need to be improved in terms of the level of activity and stability. This class of bacteria (which includes species such as E. coli and Klebsiella) has an extra layer to their cell wall. This provides them with an additional barrier to drug penetration, making them much harder to treat. By targeting more than one tRNA synthetase improvements should be seen in terms of both activity and decreased levels of bacterial resistance.


    The next steps are to optimize the molecules to enhance their activity and stability and to monitor the emergence of resistance. The design work will be carried by over the next two years with the aim of developing a candidate ready for clinical testing.