Industry-Sponsored Research Week
University-Industry Engagement Advisor

UC System’s Drug Discovery Consortium continues to grow with addition of UC Santa Cruz


By David Schwartz
Published: November 16th, 2021

UC Santa Cruz has joined the University of California Drug Discovery Consortium (UC DDC), a multi-campus initiative that seeks to promote research translation through industry partnerships.

The consortium provides funding and mentorship for UC researchers to advance drugs that address important unmet medical needs. In addition to providing seed funding, the consortium connects researchers to industry for sponsored research partnerships. Those industry partners gain access to the largest pool of academic biomedical researchers in the U.S.

The addition of Santa Cruz brings the number of consortium members to eight – UC Santa Cruz plus UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, and UCSF. The UC DDC is governed by experts in drug discovery and development who serve as site lead representatives for their respective UC campuses.

“UC Santa Cruz brings to the consortium its unique strengths in the areas of genomics and bioinformatics, natural products research, RNA and structural biology, and drug discovery technology,” said Scott Lokey, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and director of the UCSC Chemical Screening Center, who is the UCSC campus lead and a member of the consortium’s executive committee. Lokey co-founded Circle Pharma, a Bay Area biotech company focus on cancer therapies.

“We’re very excited to join this powerful UC-wide consortium, which will bring enhanced opportunities for inter-campus collaboration and industry partnerships,” he said.

Along with the seed grants, UC researchers also benefit from drug discovery education and training workshops sponsored by the UC DDC, and members have priority access to core facilities across the UC system. To support that work, the consortium fosters partnerships with industry members, who can co-develop early-stage projects with UC researchers and gain early access to licensing.

“The consortium gives industry partners a single entry point to the UC system and makes it easier for them to identify research programs that align with their interests,” Lokey said. “From the UC researcher’s perspective, it’s not just a funding opportunity. Industry partnerships provide great training for graduate students and postdocs who get to see how the pharmaceutical industry works and make connections with people.”

Source: UC Santa Cruz

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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