Northern Institute for Cancer Research



As one of only four CRUK small molecule Drug Discovery Units, the group benefits from core-funded infrastructure support from CRUK. Funding for our research is also provided by Newcastle University and other UK Research Councils.

Academic Collaborations

The Newcastle drug discovery group has a strong network of academic partners, including cancer researchers within NICR and across the breadth of cancer research within Newcastle, but also nationally (including a number of CRUK laboratories) and internationally. We are always seeking collaborative opportunities with groups that have novel targets for drug discovery. Such targets should have a good biological hypothesis, ‘line-of-sight’ to the clinic and ideally be amenable to structure-based drug discovery approaches.

For discussions concerning potential drug discovery collaborations on novel cancer targets, please contact Steve Wedge (

Industry Partnerships

Complementing its multi-disciplinary approach to drug discovery, the Newcastle drug discovery group has always sought industrial collaborators for its programmes.

Building on a successful earlier collaboration to generate an FGFR inhibitor, the Newcastle group established a long-term strategic partnership with Astex in 2012 to discover and develop new cancer drugs. During the initial five-year alliance Astex provides £1 million p.a. to support research across target validation (proving a target in a cancer cell can be modulated with drugs), drug discovery bioscience, structural biology, and medicinal chemistry to identify and develop new cancer drugs and associated biomarkers. Astex retains an option to an exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialise pharmaceutical products from each alliance project across a portfolio of projects at stages ranging from target validation through to lead optimisation.

The Newcastle drug discovery group also has sponsored research projects outside of the Astex Alliance, including a number of projects with AstraZeneca.

For discussions concerning potential commercial partnerships, please contact Tommy Rennison (