Dr William Farnaby


Will Farnaby
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+44 (0)1382 386096


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Will Farnaby is a Principal Investigator within the Centre for Targeted Protein (CeTPD) at the University of Dundee. He uses multi-disciplinary small molecule discovery methods for controlling protein homeostasis. His group has a primary focus on discovering chemical probes to further our understanding of how to treat Central Nervous System (CNS) diseases, where there are currently unmet needs for conditions affecting hundreds of millions of people globally.

Previously, whilst working as a medicinal chemist at Takeda Pharmaceutical company, Will contributed to the discovery of multiple CNS focussed clinical candidates, including Soticlestat, a Cholesterol 24-Hydroxylase inhibitor used to treat Dravet’s syndrome. More recently, he led a large Targeted Protein Degradation drug discovery team as part of a collaboration between the University of Dundee CeTPD and Boehringer-Ingelheim that produced a number breakthrough discoveries in structure based bifunctional degrader discover.

Selected Publications

Christiane Kofink, Nicole Trainor, Barbara Mair, Emelyne Diers, Michael Roy, Claire Whitworth, Klaus Rumpel, Nikolai Mischerikow, Melanie Wurm, Simon Woerhle…Manfred Koegl, Peter Ettmayer, Alessio Ciulli, Harald Weinstabl*, William Farnaby*. A selective and orally bioavailable VHL-recruiting PROTAC achieves SMARCA2 degradation in vivo. Nat. Commun. 13, 5969 (2022) doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-33430-6

William Farnaby, Manfred Koegl, Darryl McConnell, Alessio Ciulli. Transforming Targeted Cancer Therapy with PROTACs: A forward-looking perspective. Curr. Opin. Pharmacol. 57, 175-183 (2021), doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2021.02.009

William Farnaby, Manfred Koegl, Michael J. Roy, Claire Whitworth, Emelyne Diers, Nicole Trainor, David Zollman, Steffen Steurer, Jale Karolyi-Oezguer, Carina Riedmueller, Teresa Gmaschitz, Johannes Wachter, Christian Dank, Michael Galant, Bernadette Sharps, Klaus Rumpel, Elisabeth Traxler, Thomas Gerstberger, Renate Schnitzer, Oliver Petermann, Peter Greb, Harald Weinstabl, Gerd Bader, Andreas Zoephel, Alexander Weiss-Puxbaum, Katharina Ehrenhöfer-Wölfer, Simon Wöhrle, Guido Boehmelt, Joerg Rinnenthal, Heribert Arnhof, Nicola Wiechens, Meng-Ying Wu, Tom Owen-Hughes, Peter Ettmayer, Mark Pearson, *Darryl B. McConnell & *Alessio Ciulli. Structure-based PROTAC design demonstrates BAF complex ATPase vulnerabilities in cancer. Nat. Chem. Biol. 15, 7, 672-680, doi: 10.1038/s41589-019-0294-6 (2019).

Johan Mayol-Llinas, William Farnaby*, Adam Nelson* & Andrew Ayscough. Assessing molecular scaffolds for CNS drug discovery. Drug Discov Today 22, 965-969, doi:10.1016/j.drudis.2017.01.008 (2017).

Second supervisor


Award Year
PiCLS Best Mentor Award 2023