Will Farnaby becomes Principal Investigator in CeTPD

Published on 11 March 2022

William Farnaby has been appointed as Principal Investigator within the newly formed Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation (CeTPD).

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Will’s research will innovate chemical approaches to discover and develop molecules that can probe new ways of addressing disease. There will be a particular focus on Central Nervous System (CNS) diseases where there are currently unmet needs for conditions affecting hundreds of millions of people globally. This work will involve the design, synthesis and biological evaluation of novel small molecule classes that can induce gain-of-function on target proteins to cause changes to cellular signaling and impact disease mechanisms.   

Through his leadership of a large multi-disciplinary team of drug discovery scientists involved in a high-profile academia-industry collaboration, Will has made major contributions to and become a recognized expert within the field of targeted protein degradation. He has demonstrated how the structure-based design of bifunctional, proximity-inducing molecules known as proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) can offer a new approach to degrade previously undruggable proteins that are key cancer drivers. Previously to this he spent several years as a senior medicinal chemist in industry, co-inventing two CNS drugs, Soticlestat and Luvadaxistat, both currently in late-stage clinical trials. The vision for his group will combine this expertise across induced-proximity modalities, chemical biology and medicinal chemistry approaches in CNS research.   

Will stated, ‘‘I am incredibly excited and honoured to establish my research group within the new CeTPD at the University of Dundee. Surrounded by the world-class, collaborative research environment within the School of Life Sciences and broader University community will be a perfect setting for my research investigating how we can use chemistry to induce neo-functions on proteins and illuminate disease pathways’’    

Alessio Ciulli, CeTPD Founder and Director stated “I am extremely excited that Will is soon establishing his own research group within our new Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation. I could not be prouder that CeTPD will host Will as its first appointed PI. He has worked so hard to achieve this and it is richly deserved. He proposes an innovative, exciting research programme with unique potential to impact drugging of CNS diseases, and that synergises with so much other on-going research at Dundee within both CeTPD and the wider SLS and beyond." 

Story category Appointments