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Wolfson Foundation funds new Target Validation Suite

9 July 2019

Researcher works under fume hood with chemicals

A quarter of the population will experience mental health issues during their lifetime, and a cutting-edge laboratory will bring new and improved mental health medications closer to a reality.

Cardiff University’s Medicines Discovery Institute has been awarded £500,000 by the Wolfson Foundation to fund a state-of-the-art Target Validation Laboratories Suite, which will help researchers discover new therapies for mental health and neurological conditions.

Professor Simon Ward, Director of the Medicines Discovery Institute, said: “The last major wave of medicines from psychiatric disorders, such as Prozac, were released in the late 1980s and 1990s.

“Since then, investment in developing new and better therapies for mental health conditions has decreased, reducing drug development in this area by over 70%, despite current therapeutic options having slow acting times and having significant side effects. Because of this, people with mental health conditions are left with limited options, and this is an area of clear, unmet medical need.

“Whilst the development of new drugs for mental health has decreased, our knowledge of mechanisms of these conditions has grown dramatically - with many discoveries surrounding neuroscience, neurodegenerative diseases and mental health coming from Cardiff University.

“We need access to equipment that will enable us to take the discoveries happening in the laboratories, and bring them to the patient.”

The Wolfson Foundation awarded half a million pounds to fund equipment in the Institute, that will allow the scientists to bridge the gap between cutting-edge biomedical research outputs and new therapies in clinics.

The new Target Validation Laboratories Suite at the Medicines Discovery Institute will provide the facilities needed to investigate new biological targets of interest, allowing researchers to test chemical compounds to identify novel medicines.

“We will take the research expertise that has identified new genes and proteins involved in the medical conditions and develop compounds that can target them, examining how they interact to evaluate their potential as new therapies.

“This new Target Validation Laboratories Suite, funded by the Wolfson Foundation, is going to play a pivotal role in our research, which ultimately aims to make a real impact on the lives of patients across the world, by discovering new and effective medicines,” added Professor Ward.

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