Autumn 2014 Newsletter

Welcome to the Autumn 2014 Newsletter from CompChem Solutions.

In this edition we shine a light on how changes to the funding landscape have presented new opportunities to fund early stage research, we present our Autumn Special Offer, and highlight new publications from CompChem Solutions.  We also report on how our new interim services have seen much interest and continue to grow, and we welcome two new associates.  Last but not least we do a round up of events and jobs.

New funding opportunities – don’t take them for granted!

As a consultancy dedicated to supporting our clients with their grant applications we are always interested in the changing landscape for funding and any new opportunities our clients might benefit from. In addition to those funds well known to companies involved with biomedical research such as the Welcome Trust and Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board) there are an increasing number of smaller grants available from Government and European Regional Development funding sources.

These funding initiatives often arise from ‘pots’ of money secured by organisations that have taken over the void created by the loss of the Regional Development Agencies and Business Link back in 2010 as part of the Government cutbacks brought about by the recent recession.

One place worth considering is funding from Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP’s) of which there are currently 39 in the UK offering a range of grants depending on the priorities local to where each LEP is based.

In the case of the LEP covering Cambridge, called the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP they provide a range of funding initiatives, as follows:

Grants4Growth is a two year package of free, confidential and impartial support for SMEs, providing practical help and financial assistance to help reduce costs and increase competitiveness and resilience.

Capital grants are available up to a maximum of 28% of the eligible capital spend, and revenue grants are available up to a maximum of 30% of eligible revenue spend.

Agri-Tech Grants is a scheme to support the development of new and innovative ideas within the agricultural sector.

One part of the scheme provides grants of between £25,000 and £150,000 to support product development and improve agricultural productivity, the other supports the research and development of new product or processes with grants of between £10,000 and £60,000.

Destination Digital aims to help thousands of small and medium sized businesses with the following free support:

  • Tailored 1-2-1 support from a digital business support advisor.
  • Workshops and training on using new technology to grow your business.
  • Discounts of 40% up to £4000 for purchasing digital products and services.

Small and medium-sized businesses in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire can also get vouchers of between £250 and £3,000 towards the one-off charge to connect to better broadband.

In the case of some other LEP’s such as the one covering Norfolk and Suffolk, called New Anglia, they also have their own regional growth funds. The New Anglia LEP’s growth fund (the Growing Business Fund) is aimed at businesses looking to expand and create new jobs, awarding up to £10k for each new job created (the definition of a ‘new job’ is one full time position for 12 months).

If you are a business that is ambitious to grow rapidly then the Government’s new Growth Accelerator scheme might be right for you. This scheme provides a large subsidy towards business coaching and leadership training and development. It is delivered by a variety of national and local agencies including SJIC, ISIS Innovation, PERA, Winning Pitch and Grant Thornton.

If you are just starting out or thinking about starting a business there are numerous agencies involved in providing advice and support especially around business planning. These schemes may be delivered by regional, local or national delivery partners often private organisations specialising in early stage business support. In Cambridge programmes are delivered by NWES and YTKO amongst others.

In this article we have touched upon just a few of the relatively new schemes and initiatives being supported by Government and the European Union. If you are looking for grants or business advice then it may well be worthwhile going beyond those funds usually associated with research and development and looking to see if these funds or any others may be useful to your business.


CompChem Solutions Welcomes Two New Associates

CompChem Solutions is delighted to announce our new association with Christine Richardson and Tim Ritchie, who are now able to assist clients on selected projects.

Christine has over 20 years experience in the computational chemistry field, having spent a decade with GSK prior to working with RiboTargets/Vernalis and more recently Biofocus.

Tim has 25 years experience in the area, and likewise spent a considerable period at GSK after having worked with Novartis in the CNS therapeutic area.  At GSK he worked on several protein target classes, employing both structure-based, QSPR, drug-likeness and chemoinformatic approaches to support medicinal chemistry projects.  Tim is now based in Northern Italy, but is available to support UK-based projects remotely.

We welcome both Associates to the CompChem Solutions team, and look forward to introducing clients to their considerable scientific skills and experience.

Whilst we warmly welcome our two new associates we continue to seek additional computational chemistry associates, so if you are interested in taking on fixed term project work from CompChem Solutions do contact us with your CV.


PPI Fragments Paper & Protein Kinase Substrates Patent Application

Susan Boyd in her role as a Director of IOTA Pharmaceuticals Ltd, who focus on fragment approaches in drug discovery, has contributed to a review of the use of fragment techniques in Protein-Protein Interactions which has now been published (open access) in Research & Reports in Biochemistry and can be downloaded here.   The paper has so far generated considerable interest, and is featured on the Practical Fragments Blog in October.

Susan Boyd is also an author of the recent Patent Application (P Parker, J Roffey, C Dillon, P Riou, N McDonald, S Boyd, M Linch & S Kjaer, “Identification of Protein Kinase Substrates”, WO2014045039 A2, 2014) describing methodology directed towards identification of biomarkers for protein kinase targets.


Druggability Assessment Special Offer

For the remainder of this year, CompChem Solutions is offering druggability assessments of novel targets for a competitive fixed fee.  Many academic groups and open innovation projects discover exciting novel targets implicated in disease pathways.  Computational Druggability Assessment can provide useful information regarding the suitability of such targets for small molecule approaches.

Contact us for more information!


New Interim Services Proving Popular

Our new interim staffing solutions have been very popular so far.  CompChem Solutions can plug the gap in your resourcing shortfall whilst you recruit new, permanent staff – or even just help to smooth out the peaks and troughs in demand for your in-house comp chem team.  We can provide computational chemists to work with your scientists on a short term or on an ongoing basis, to give you flexibility whenever it’s needed.  We can supply highly experienced modellers/chemoinformaticians who can “hit the ground running” if the project needs quick results, or more recently qualified interim staff who can assist with well-defined projects, such as software development tasks/scripting.  Do contact us to learn more about how this service could benefit your organisation.



RSC-BCMS Drug Transporters: Target or avoid?, 13th November 2014, Windlesham, Surrey

Cambridge Chemoinformatics Network Meeting, 26th November 2014, EBI Hinxton

SCI CNS Drug Discovery, 26th November 2014, Cambridge Science Park

MGMS Young Modellers Forum, 28th November 2014, London



Molecular Modeller, Argenta/Charles River, Harlow, UK

Computational Chemist, Lundbeck A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark

Development and Implementation Research Chemoinformatician, Lhasa Ltd, Leeds, UK

Design and Development Research Chemoinformatician, Lhasa Ltd, Leeds, UK

Senior Software Developer, CCG, Cambridge, UK



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