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Multi-million pound drug research unit to be based in Dundee

Dundee University

A new multi-million pound centre for researching drugs will be based in Dundee.

The Scottish Government has invested £8m in the creation of a robotic drug screening laboratory at the University of Dundee.

The cutting edge technology will be used to identify drugs capable of curing diseases more efficiently.

Prof Pete Downes, principal and vice chancellor at the university, said the National Phenotypic Screening Centre will help to improve the success rate of new drugs coming into the market.

He said: “Phenotypic screening is a return to the way that drug discovery used to be done, but in a modern setting and fully automated, so you can screen lots and lots of new potential drugs.

“It is the best way to understand whether the drug that you find, through this mechanism, is going to be able to be used to treat disease rather than just treat a particular single target.

“It is a much more efficient way to find new drugs to specifically treat diseases. The real importance is that the pharmaceutical industry has really been struggling with this efficiency.

“Lots of new drugs have fallen out through clinical trials and cost the industry a lot of money – with very little new drugs coming through.

“So the aim is that this kind of screening will help improve the success rate of new drugs coming into the market and into the clinic.”

Education secretary Mike Russell was at the university to make the announcement on Wednesday.

The money has been awarded through the Scottish Funding Council. Mr Russell said investment in drug discovery was “central” in the prosperity of Scotland.

He added: “The work that is done in universities has a huge link to the prosperity of Scotland and this type of investment pays huge dividends.” (STV)

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