Advancing drug discovery through high-throughput phenotypic screening

About the project

Despite the many remarkable successes of modern drug discovery, for every drug approved thousands of candidate drugs fail during the later stages of the drug discovery and development process, highlighting the inefficiency of preclinical drug discovery to predict clinical success. These limitations are brought into sharper focus when specifically considering diseases of unmet therapeutic need including many of the most common human neurological disorders.

The goals of this project are to frontload drug development failures prior to clinical development by testing drug candidates in disease-relevant human-based model systems using automated high throughput phenotypic screening technologies. Our research laboratories are equipped with the latest image-based phenotypic screening platforms, fully integrated with plate handling robotics and data analysis workflows.

Working in close collaboration with several pharmaceutical industry partners and academic groups we aim to accelerate identification of new therapeutic targets, drug candidates and drug repurposing opportunities and increase their clinical success rates.


Cancer Research UK, Brain Tumour Charity, UK Research and Innovation


Hughes RE, Elliott RJR, Dawson JC, Carragher NO
High-content phenotypic and pathway profiling to advance drug discovery in diseases of unmet need.
Cell Chem Biol
2021 Mar 18
Horvath P, Aulner N, Bickle M, Davies AM, Nery ED, Ebner D, Montoya MC, Östling P, Pietiäinen V, Price LS, Shorte SL, Turcatti G, von Schantz C, Carragher NO
Screening out irrelevant cell-based models of disease
Nat Rev Drug Discov
2016 Nov 01

Primary location


Principal Investigator

Other people involved

Siddharthan Chandran, Giles Hardingham, Bhuvaneish Thangaraj Selvaraj, John Dawson, Alessandra Cardinali, Roderick Carter, Ashraff Makda