MDC and ZEISS look to advance microscopy for early drug discovery  

A new partnership has been formed between Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) and technology group ZEISS to improve drug discovery using advanced microscopy solutions. 

The partnership will combine MDC’s expertise in cell biology and drug discovery with ZEISS’ microscope instrumentation and image analysis capabilities. In particular, the organisations aim to drive the application of advanced microscopy workflows to measure the interaction between drug molecules and biological systems, and develop assays specifically tailored to drug discovery. 

Advanced microscopy techniques are used to visualise cellular functions at very high resolution, while being minimally invasive to the cells or tissues of interest. By incorporating microscopy techniques into the early stages of drug discovery, researchers can better understand a drug’s activity within complex disease models. 

Prior to the partnership, MDC established advanced microscopy capabilities within its laboratory facilities at Alderley Park UK. 

Now, through this collaboration, MDC hopes to further develop its microscopy capabilities for drug discovery and inform the industrial application and future development of ZEISS instruments. 

A major focus of the collaboration is a joint project to develop advanced microscopy methods for the analysis of complex medicines. The project will see MDC and ZEISS produce a live cell imaging and image analysis pipeline that can be deployed to assess novel drug delivery technologies and therapeutics, enabling innovators to advance their projects. 

Official comments  

Michael Albiez, Head of ZEISS Research Microscopy Solutions, said: “We are very excited about partnering with MDC to pursue our mutual goal of enabling drug hunters across the globe to discover and develop better drugs faster. Pairing MDC’s expertise in drug discovery with our unique capabilities across imaging modalities, workflow automation, and AI-powered image analysis will undoubtedly pave the way for powerful new discoveries in biopharma.” 

Dr Martin Main, Chief Scientist at MDC, said: “Advanced microscopy offers an array of benefits to drug discovery, from characterising complex cell models of disease, to understanding the molecular mechanism of drug action. MDC’s Advanced Microscopy capability allows UK drug discovery innovators access to this critical R&D resource to progress their targets more efficiently and effectively, bringing better treatments to patients, faster.” 

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