Drug Discovery & Development

various glass containers used for lab testing
Dr. Corinne Augelli-Szafran

The Drug Discovery & Development (DDC) is led by Dr. Corinne Augelli-Szafran. The overall goal of the Drug Discovery and Development Core (DDC) is to collaborate with the investigators within the UAB Research Center of Excellence in Arsenicals to identify and prioritize novel molecular target-based approaches to develop countermeasures for mitigating the effects of skin exposure to chemical vesicants.  The DDC has expertise in compound screening and assay development, involving novel and diverse screening libraries which include over 4,000 FDA approved drugs.  The core has a strong medicinal chemistry component with extensive experience in lead optimization and drug discovery, including computational and analytical chemistry and structural biology. 

Photo (left to right): Ling Zhai, “Miranda” Ntsang M Nebane, Bini Mathew, Corinne Augelli-Szafran, Bob Bostwick, Mark Suto, and Lynae Hanks

The major focus of the DDC will be to target novel inhibitory compounds of BRD4 as potential antidotes of arsenicals.  Given that some of these targets may have tissue specificity, simultaneous inhibition of multiple targets may provide a more effective approach.  Therefore, we will also identify compounds affecting UPR, HO1, and RIP kinases. 

The DDC’s capabilities, including pharmaceutics/formulations and toxicology, provide the Center the ability to identify compounds suitable for IND-enabling studies.  It will be the function of the DDC to support the Center by identifying the hit compounds and ultimately developing novel leads and potential clinically useful drugs with optimized biological and biophysical properties.