Centre for Medicinal Chemistry

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Leading New Approaches to Drug Discovery 


Despite significant strides over the past 40 years, cancer continues to be a lethal disease of such scope that it touches the lives of nearly everyone. However, the rapidly evolving field of omics (e.g., genomics, proteomics) along with advances in molecular biology offer hope.

We are learning about the biological underpinnings of cancer and developing new kinds of diagnostics, therapies, and preventive measures.

Professor Patrick Gunning’s work builds on these breakthroughs with an effective process of developing lead compounds that have the potential to be turned into cancer-fighting drugs. The Gunning Lab designs and creates compounds that interrupt specific biochemical processes, while avoiding harm to normal cellular functions. This method is a dramatic departure from previous approaches that involved screening vast numbers of compounds in hopes of chancing upon those that elicit a desired biological interaction—with small odds of success.

In the past five years, the Gunning Lab has moved four lead compounds to advanced pre-clinical trials. The great promise of this research is to dramatically reduce the time and cost of developing lead compounds, resulting in a larger pipeline of compounds to fight many forms of cancer, as well as other diseases. The fundamental goal of the group is the development of better treatment and diagnostic options for the most devastating and under-explored human diseases.

The Centre for Medicinal Chemistry is uniquely capable of driving pharmaceutical innovation. Blending cutting-edge academia with business acumen, the CMC is adept at progressing its scientific breakthroughs into potential therapies that improve human health. The Centre’s proven capability in orphan diseases and cancer treatments, resulting from its deep expertise in drug design, make it one of the most promising enterprises in the field of drug discovery. In just a short time, it has become a top-tier player within the Greater Toronto region’s burgeoning life sciences sector.

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