Professor Daniel Longley Joins Almac Discovery to Accelerate Colorectal Cancer Research

January 18, 2021

Innovate UK Grant Supports DUBs Research & Development Programmes

Belfast, N.I., 18 January 2021Almac Discovery, the independent research driven drug discovery company dedicated to the development of novel and innovative therapeutics, is delighted to announce Professor Dan Longley will join its senior executive team to further support the exploration of the role of Deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs)  in the development and progression of colorectal cancer.

As part of the Innovate UK funded innovation scholar award, the appointment will see Prof Longley, who is currently Deputy Director at the Patrick Johnson Cancer Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, join the Almac Discovery team on a part time basis for a three-year project.  His research focuses on the resistance to standard-of-care chemotherapy in colorectal cancer and mechanisms of drug resistance in multiple cancers, specifically apoptosis, and his expertise will provide significant insight to accelerate Almac Discovery’s research efforts in this field.

DUBs play a critical role in the control of protein homeostasis within cells and perturbations in this have been shown to be relevant in the progression of several oncology and neurodegenerative conditions. Almac Discovery is currently pursuing several novel DUB targets and expects to nominate a novel clinical candidate molecule for one of these targets within the next calendar year. With a strong ethos of developing links with academic groups to strengthen its science base, Almac Discovery, located in Northern Ireland and Scotland, is led by an experienced team of ex-Pharma and Biotech specialists with a track record of delivering successful clinical programmes and Prof. Longley’s input will be invaluable to progress these programmes.

Commenting on his appointment, Prof Longley said, “I am delighted to join the Almac Discovery team and look forward to supporting the organisation in developing its strong foundation in DUB research. The expertise and knowledge of the team excites me and, given the great strides already achieved by the team, I feel it is the perfect time to make further contributions as we move forward together to develop and advance new medicines that can address unmet medical needs.”

“We are very pleased to welcome Dan to our team through the Innovate UK grant as we look forward to progressing our DUBs research and the exciting potential it offers cancer patients globally,”   Prof. Tim Harrison, VP Drug Discovery at Almac Discovery continued “His specific insight, knowledge and experience will complement that of our existing team and will enhance our ability to deliver our ambitious vision. We look forward to working with Dan in the coming months and years.”  

Recognising the unique therapeutic potential of the ubiquitin-proteasome system, Almac Discovery developed a purpose-built drug discovery platform (UbiPlex™) for the identification and optimisation of DUB inhibitors. The power and utility of Ubi-Plex® has now been illustrated by the identification of inhibitors of multiple DUB targets which have been successfully used to generate Proof of Concept efficacy data in disease-relevant pre-clinical models. The company has signed four significant partnership and collaboration agreements during the past five years in support of its principal objectives  to drive forward a dedicated effort in  the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of disease, and to make a real and lasting contribution towards the advancement of human health.


About Almac Discovery

Almac Discovery is an innovative research driven biotech company dedicated to the discovery and development of First in Class therapeutics across a range of therapeutic areas including neuroscience, muscle-wasting, oncology and inflammation. Almac Discovery focuses on the discovery to preclinical stage, seeking to licence programmes early with a pharmaceutical partner for further development.

For more information, please visit or e-mail [email protected].

About Almac Group

The Almac Group is an established contract development and manufacturing organisation providing an extensive range of integrated services across the drug development lifecycle to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors globally. Its innovative services range from R&D, biomarker discovery development and commercialisation, API manufacture, analytical services, formulation development, clinical trial supply, IRT (IVRS/IWRS) through to commercial-scale manufacture.

The international company is a privately owned organisation which has grown organically over the past five decades now employing over 5,600 highly skilled personnel across 18 facilities including Europe, the US and Asia.

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