24 February 1999

University Centre continues its success

The University of Queensland's Centre for Drug Design and Development (3D) has experienced one of its most successful years in funding grants.

Centre deputy director Dr Paul Alewood said this year the 3D Centre had won $3.5 million in competitive, national research grant schemes such as START, SPIRT, Australian Research Council large and small grants, and research infrastructure equipment and facilities grants.

"The 3D Centre has attracted its second offer of a collaborative R&D START grant from AusIndustry. This project, in partnership with Brisbane high technology firm Alchemia, will develop novel technologies for the production of a new class of carbohydrate-based molecules. These complex sugars have many potential uses in the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. Our earlier R&D START grant focuses on new agents from cone shell toxins to treat pain," he said.

"The Centre's 1999 success is on top of a current $5 million in research contracts with industry and $3 million in research grants earned by the Centre.

"Our business plan since 1991 has targeted the need for funding from research grants and industry, and demonstrates the importance of a balance between basic and strategic research and industrial collaboration."

The 3D Centre is staffed by multidisciplinary teams of chemical, biological and computer scientists spread throughout its integrated laboratory environment. It has developed a range of exciting generic technologies in drug design and discovery.

These include the design and synthesis of peptidomimetics and other small molecules which mimic or inhibit peptides and proteins; the design and construction of combinatorial chemistry libraries; and the isolation and identification of novel bioactive molecules from the venoms of Australian fauna and flora.

In collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry, the Centre is applying these technologies to develop bioactive lead compounds targeted to the treatment of AIDS and other viral infections, cancer, inflammatory conditions, central nervous system disorders, stroke and Alzheimer's disease.

For further information, contact Dr Alewood, telephone 07 3365 1270.