The Edinburgh Cancer Discovery Unit (ECDU) was founded in 2011 as a not-for-profit activity to provide a multidisciplinary group of core skills embracing advanced technology platforms and disease models, which drive innovations in oncology drug discovery and development.


The overarching aims of the ECDU are to enhance clinical predictivity of preclinical oncology drug discovery strategies and improve patient stratification and efficacy, by applying an evidence-led translational research platform, incorporating disease relevant models systems, innovative chemical design, quantitative imaging and genomic/proteomic discovery informatics.

To achieve these goals we work in close collaboration with local clinicians, multidisciplinary academic research groups (biology, chemistry, informatics & biophysics) and industry partners. The ECDU provides a dynamic environment combining, complimentary skills, advanced technologies and clinical research collaborations that address unmet clinical need and thus maximize the value of our preclinical research programs and small-molecule or biological therapeutic assets discovered or profiled through these programs.

ECDU Directors

The ECDU is jointly directed by four senior scientists that bring together complimentary skills and experience in basic cancer research, pharmacology, drug discovery and imaging gained from within academic and industry environments:

  • Prof Neil Carragher, Principal Investigator Drug Discovery
  • Dr Asier Unciti-Broceta, Principal Investigator Chemistry
  • Prof Val Brunton, Principal Investigator in Cancer Therapeutics and Pharmacology
  • Prof Margaret Frame, Director of the Edinburgh Cancer Research UK Centre