Science-led drug discovery

We are a science-led CRO with the capability to take your target from concept to candidate through our fully integrated drug discovery services.


At BioAscent, we know how difficult it is to invent new medicines. Our staff have decades of experience working in drug discovery from target identification through to clinical candidate selection and beyond. We have experienced the many challenges that arise and know how to approach answering and solving them. There is no substitute for dedicated, experienced staff working in state-of the-art facilities to enable you to make the rapid progress you want to see.

Integration and communication are central to innovation. Our scientists work in closely-knit teams on a single site and are accustomed to working closely with customers from around the world to understand what is required, to relay progress and to reach your key milestones.

BioAscent’s scientists can support each key stage of the drug discovery process; from de novo assay development, assay optimisation and miniaturisation; tailored hit discovery approaches including fragment, focused, and diversity-based high-throughput screening; through to hits to lead and lead optimisation.

Having generated high quality validated hit series for many projects, our scientists are experienced in taking these lead compounds through design-make-test cycles to drive multi-parameter optimisation and deliver quality late-stage candidates.

We provide a fully flexible and tailored solution to meet your needs, from stand-alone projects through to fully integrated drug discovery services with the capability to take your target from concept to candidate. Our customers include major pharma, biotech, health charities and academia. All intellectual property generated is owned by the customer.

The Team

The BioAscent drug discovery team comprises expert bioscientists and medicinal and computational chemists co-located in state-of-the-art laboratories on the Newhouse site.

The team’s experience spans multiple therapy areas and all major target classes, from project concept to clinical development. Since 2013, the team has established more than 150 biochemical, biophysical and cellular assays for drug discovery projects, and run more than 50 hit validation/characterisation projects, and more than 25 hit-to-lead campaigns. The team is currently supporting its biotech and pharma customers at all stages of the drug discovery process, from assay development for novel targets, through to full lead optimisation projects.

BioAscent is also a key partner in the European Lead Factory, where our ability to manage the associated compound collection, and provide integrated assay development, compound triage and medicinal chemistry expertise is critical to the success of the novel drug discovery projects supported by this programme.

Our Experience

The BioAscent team has experience of successfully working from assay development to preclinical and clinical candidate across all major therapeutic indications and biological target classes.

“Our target and mechanism was challenging (an allosteric, covalent inhibitor approach). The proposal from the BioAscent team to support our project was detailed and well-thought-out, with references to show a good level of diligence. Likewise, on our early calls, it was clear that the team were experienced in screening covalent inhibitors. The project itself really benefited from BioAscent’s biology and chemistry expertise, and the collaborative and open approach that they have – they were happy to listen to our ideas, while at the same time not afraid to challenge and contribute – I really appreciated this attitude.” – Project Manager, Apollo Therapeutics

Target Class Expertise

Our experience of assay development spans all major target classes:


Hydrolases, proteases (including serine, cysteine proteases), kinases (including protein, sugar kinases), phosphodiesterases, ligases, polymerases, helicases, nucleases, demethylases, deacetylases, methyltransferase, decarboxylases, dehydrogenases, oxygenases, reductases

Ion channels

Voltage and ligand-gated

Nuclear receptors
Protein-protein, protein-RNA & protein-DNA interactions

Including splicing factors, chaperones, transporters


The BioAscent team has experience of successfully working from assay development to preclinical and clinical candidate selection across all major therapeutic indications and biological target classes. Our key services and expertise include:

Integrated Drug Discovery Projects


Biochemical, Biophysical & Cellular Assay Development


Target Analysis & Bespoke Screening Strategies


In-house Diversity & Fragment Library


External Custom Library Selection & Sourcing


Compound Screening


Medicinal and Synthetic Chemistry


In Silico Discovery & Data Analysis


Physicochemical Profiling & DMPK


Compound Management


Therapeutic Areas

The BioAscent team has expertise of successfully working from assay development to preclinical and clinical candidates across a wide range of therapeutic areas, including:

Oncology and immuno-oncology
CNS disorders, pain, neurodegeneration
Metabolic disorders
Heritable genetic disease & other orphan indications
Neglected tropical diseases

Our Experts

Director of Biosciences

Dr Stuart McElroy

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Director of Chemistry

Dr Angus Morrison

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Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder

Dr Sylviane Boucharens

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Associate Director of In Silico Discovery

Dr Angelo Pugliese

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Associate Director Biosciences

Dr Brian McFerran

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Associate Director of Chemistry

Dr Duncan McArthur

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Chief Scientific Advisor

Dr Phil Jones

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Integrated Drug Discovery

Science-led drug discovery

Get in Touch

Let's talk about how we can maximise your drug discovery success.