Drug Discovery Alliance

This ambitious initiative unites three dedicated Drug Discovery Institutes, all working to translate new findings from academic research into potential treatments as quickly as possible.

Led by drug discovery experts in partnership with world-leading academic researchers, the Drug Discovery Alliance bridges the gap between discovery science taking place in universities across the UK and drug development expertise in pharmaceutical companies.

We’ve set up cutting-edge Institutes at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and University College London, all ideally placed to capitalise on promising discoveries coming out of the host university and the wider Alzheimer’s Research UK Research Network.


• Housed in the heart of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, one of the largest concentrations of pharmaceutical and biotech research anywhere in Europe.
• Ideally placed for collaboration with the University of Cambridge, a world leader in neurodegeneration.

• Embedded within the Target Discovery Institute, Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford Old Road Campus.
• Positioned to build on the strong academic base within the University, with access to state-of-the-art technologies and leading international networks focused on dementia.

• Located in the iconic Cruciform building at the heart of UCL’s Bloomsbury Campus.
• Is benefitting from the University’s growing focus on neurodegenerative diseases, with access to internationally renowned dementia researchers and clinicians.

Each Institute has dedicated biology and chemistry teams on hand to develop discoveries towards new medicines. Sixty dedicated scientists now work within the Drug Discovery Alliance, making it one of the largest and most coordinated efforts to find new drugs for dementia that exists.

How are drugs discovered?

Keeping our brains functioning normally involves the concerted work of many different biological processes, thousands of tiny molecular events, and a bewildering array of proteins – the complex molecules that carry out all of the work for our cells.

When a disease likes Alzheimer’s takes hold in the brain, this finely tuned system is thrown into disarray. Many aspects of our brain function can be disrupted, or even co-opted to contribute to the damage caused by these diseases.
As academic scientists make sense of this enormously complex picture, our Drug Discovery Institutes are looking to change it. They want to develop drugs that can target proteins, change the way they interact, boost healthy brain function and, ultimately, improve the lives of people living with dementia.

View our interactive presentation to find out more about research in the DDA


Our powerhouses of drug discovery are only possible through the generous support of people like you. Your donations will help us to discover the treatments of tomorrow, bringing hope to the 850,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK.

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For researchers

If you’re a researcher and would like to learn more about working with our Drug Discovery Alliance, please visit the Cambridge, Oxford or UCL Drug Discovery Institute websites.