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The pace of R&D within the global pharmaceutical industry is increasing thanks to pioneering work on the management of compound databases at BioAscent Discovery. 


We spoke to CEO Simon MacKenzie about why the company's innovative approach and location in Scotland offers such huge potential for the sector and the future of drug discovery.

BioAscent Discovery Ltd is helping the global drive to develop a new and innovative generation of drugs. 

Established in 2013 as a subsidiary of BioCity, the UK’s leading bioscience incubator, BioAscent is now one of the world’s largest compound management facilities. 

Operating from the former Organon/Merck Sharp and Dohme research facilities and located centrally between Glasgow and Edinburgh, the company provides a centre of excellence for compound management activities.

Meeting global pharmaceutical needs

BioAscent's high specification facility and supporting infrastructure is ideally designed to meet the needs of the global pharmaceutical industry.

Their small molecule compound collection storage and retrieval system offers enormous potential to support early-stage drug discovery. This includes a full range of services:

  • Compound management
  • Formatting and logistics
  • Business continuity back-up storage
  • Preparation and supply of compounds in formats suitable for any academic or industrial screening facility

In addition to this, BioAscent provides the drug discovery community with easy access to new compound collections, either from their own compound collection, or those shared by external clients such as pharma and academic institutions. 

In effect, it offers a 'cloud' solution to organisations active in drug discovery - clients can pick the specific compounds from the collection that they need, tailored to their target of interest, and have them custom formatted and delivered when and where they need them without the need to maintain their own storage infrastructure, manage inventories, or retain expensive liquid handling capabilities.

The quality of its facilities and offering to industry was confirmed when, in 2013, the consortium that BioAscent is a key member of was selected as the Compound Logistics 'Centre of Excellence' for the IMI European Lead Factory (ELF).

Partnership drives innovation

ELF is a €196 million public-private partnership which, as part of the Innovative Medicines Initiative, promotes new discoveries via novel open innovation sharing of the seven participating European pharmaceutical companies compound collections.

Simon MacKenzie said: “The extensive knowledge our highly experienced team has of delivering quality services for pharma clients, in combination with our high specification infrastructure, security, and IT systems, was instrumental in us being selected to manage the Joint European Compound Library.

“The proper management of the high-value assets within the Joint European Compound Library and the logistics of making them easily accessible to the ELF partners are crucial elements in the ultimate aim of the ELF - to enhance early stage-drug discovery through collaborative innovation.

"By offering access to novel collections of compounds to drug discovery organisations throughout the world through our extensive infrastructure, BioAscent provides a clear mechanism to access innovative research, which is critical to future success in pharma research and development."

Why Scotland is an ideal location

“Scotland is an ideal location for this kind of logistics operation, providing a stable environment which isn’t subject to natural disasters and benefits from excellent transport links, with the ability to rapidly deliver to our customers in Europe, the US and Asia.

“Our existing operational capacity means that we already have the capability to provide management, storage and logistics for collections of several million compounds, allowing us to deliver services to customers of all sizes. There is also huge potential for organisations to benefit from our unique capabilities in offering access to compound collections to enhance their drug discovery activities."

How SDI can help

Want to find out about how to can access BioAscent's unique assets? Or maybe you want to have a chat about setting up in Scotland? Whatever stage your project is at, we're happy to help.

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