University of Liverpool

Start : October 2012 | Status : Complete

The researcher: Matthew McConville, a postdoctoral researcher working in a team led by Dr. Paul O’Neill, associate professor, Dept. of Chemistry, will be responsible for conducting this research at Tres Cantos.

The sponsor: The University of Liverpool is one of the UK’s leading research institutions with an annual turnover of £410 million, including £150 million for research. Liverpool is ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide and is a member of the Russell Group.

Foundation funding: The Foundation is providing £53,414 in support of the first year of research and £54,831 contingent on lead identification achievement.

GlaxoSmithKline’s contribution: GSK is providing in-kind contributions (including facilities and expertise from supporting scientists in Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology units).

Project Description:  With rapidly spreading resistance to current antimalarial drugs, Matthew’s research is focused on finding new compounds to successfully treat and prevent malaria. Before beginning his research at the Open Lab, Matthew and his colleagues at the University of Liverpool examined 13,500 compounds that GSK had made publicly available and selected one series of compounds to conduct further research.

With the support of GSK scientists specialised in medicinal chemistry and pharmacology, Matthew’s research applies general synthetic organic chemistry processes to identify features of molecules which are important for antimalarial activity and are used to design more active compounds.  If a lead compound with suitable properties is found, Matthew will be able to conduct further research aimed at target validation or lead optimisation.

In addition to the scientific objectives of my project, I want to expand my knowledge of medicinal chemistry and gain experience of how drug discovery efforts are conducted in an industrial rather than an academic setting.” (Matthew McConville, Open Lab scientist)