Ludwig's integrated technology development programs, led by Jonathan Skipper, are built to seamlessly move the most promising breakthroughs from the laboratory to clinical testing. We don't wait and hope for others to act on our work, we have dedicated teams to manage every step, from drug discovery to the clinic and beyond. At Ludwig, we test our work against the one measure that matters—human benefit.
Targeted small-molecule therapies hold great promise for the battle against cancer. These selective inhibitors can block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules involved in tumor progression. Ludwig has created a small-molecule discovery group to provide researchers around the world with new tools to help move basic scientific findings from the lab to a clinical setting.
Based at the San Diego Branch of the Ludwig Institute, biochemist Andy Shiau (program director) and chemist Tim Gahman (director of medicinal chemistry) have built a highly experienced, early stage development drug-hunting team.
The group collaborates with Ludwig scientists using sophisticated computer modeling and high-throughput screening to quickly test large collections of compounds on cells or proteins. These approaches help determine which molecules control the activity of a specific protein that tells cancer cells to grow and multiply out of control. The researchers are looking to selectively slow or block these types of biochemical signals and cause cancer cells, but not normal ones, to die.
This type of work is expensive and risky because it's virtually impossible to foresee which projects will ultimately pay off. With the small-molecule discovery team, Ludwig is investing in research today to develop the drugs of tomorrow.
The Small Molecule Discovery Program has developed centrinone, a selective and reversible inhibitor of polo-like kinase 4 (Plk4), the protein kinase that initiates centriole/centrosome assembly. Centrinone has been used to reversibly remove centrosomes from human and other vertebrate cells, research done in close collaboration with Karen Oegema's and Arshad Desai's laboratories at the Ludwig San Diego Branch. Ludwig will provide researchers from non-profit institutions with limited quantities of centrinone and/or a related compound, centrinone B, upon completion of an MTA. Please direct all compound requests to Andrew Shiau.