Computer-aided molecular design was a description of this work coined in this group which pioneered the topic and became one of the world's leading groups in a subject now vigorously pursued in industry, particularly pharmaceuticals, as well as academia. We no longer accept graduate students but work with postdocs and visitors.
Drugs are small molecules which bind to target macromolecules, DNA or protein. There are three possible scenarios: the macromolecular target is unknown; the protein is known, but the binding site is not identified; and in the ideal case we know the actual target site in atomic detail.
In the past we have developed methods to cover all three areas, but currently are concentrating on the application of pattern recognition techniques to handle masses of molecular data.
This was prompted by the success of our screensaver project which was the biggest computational chemistry project ever undertaken, involving screening 3.5 billion compounds against protein targets, led by the group using screen saver time on over three million personal computers in over 200 countries. Find out more about the ScreenSaver Lifesaver project here.
The screensaver project led to the formation of the spin-out company Inhibox Ltd (www.inhibox.com) where Professor Richards now conducts his research and is chairman of the company.
Professor Richards holds a number of non-executive directorships including IP Group Plc www.ipgroupplc.com and is much involved in the creation of spin-out companies.