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European Screening Centre; Unique Library for Attractive Biology

Project description

Connecting research to drug development

Bridging the gap between basic research and drug development could result in new medicines with great societal benefits. The EU-funded ESCulab project will enable the translation of fundamental scientific understanding into innovative starting points for drug development. The project will allow innovators from EU academics to SMEs to access pioneering industrial facilities, drug discovery expertise and a library with more than 550 000 compounds suitable for screening potential drug targets. ESCulab will initiate the European Lead Factory and expand it by supporting 185 new screens. It will deliver qualified hit lists, create proposals to attract investors and drug developers, and induce them to further exploitation of the findings.


By bridging an important gap between basic research and drug development, ESCulab will facilitate the translation of fundamental scientific insights into innovative drug starting points. New biological ideas will be collected by crowdsourcing, novel targets, phenotypes and pathways translated and de-risked by delivering high-quality chemical starting points for drug development. Innovators from EU academics and SMEs are offered access to state-of-the-art industry-grade facilities, drug discovery expertise, and a top-quality, curated library with over 550,000 unique compounds suitable for screening potential drug targets. The ESCulab drug discovery data generated will allow the innovators to build a proposition that is likely to attract investors and/or drug developers and stimulate them to further exploit these findings. Ultimately, this will result in novel medicines – based on basic scientific findings – that will help patients (sooner).

ESCulab will achieve this by starting off the shoulders of the European Lead Factory (ELF), where this principle has been successfully implemented. 15 out of the 18 ESCulab consortium members were involved in ELF, thus ensuring maximum benefit from the ELF legacy. ESCulab will expand and enhance ELF by supporting 185 new screens. Important additions include the application of a much larger compound collection for screening, the ability to accommodate the more complex phenotypic screening assays, and the building of a sustainable business model to ensure access to Collaborative Drug Discovery activities beyond the funding period. The delivery of qualified hit lists (QHLs) is the end point for this project, but during the funding period, ESCulab will attract additonal funding for externally paid screens and hit-to-lead projects for organizations such as charities and foundations for long term sustainability of the initiative.



Net EU contribution
€ 1 434 943,75
Jaarbeursplein 6
3521 AL Utrecht

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

West-Nederland Utrecht Utrecht
Activity type
Other funding
€ 140 000,00

Participants (17)