Case Study

Chris Pudney, PhD

Fundamental findings from molecular biophysics studies

The Pudney lab develops new analytical approaches for health-care applications. The approaches we develop are based on translating fundamental findings from molecular biophysics studies on enzymes, disease associated proteins, and bio-active small molecules. Specifically, we combine spectroscopy, kinetics, numerical modelling, machine learning and molecular dynamics simulation to achieve insight into protein thermodynamics and biomolecular detection. Our work has led to advances in (i) predicting biopharmaceutical stability, (ii) detecting early stage pathological protein aggregation and (iii) point-of-care diagnostics for drug detection.

BLOC Laboratories Ltd is a spin-out from the Pudney lab, which commercialises the QUBES platform for biopharmaceutical stability assessment. This technology enables the rapid assessment and prediction of protein stability, without requiring labelling, surface attachment or the addition of exogenous chemicals. The major applications are in the development of biopharmaceuticals, decreasing the time and cost to achieve a stable candidate and for consistent QC across the life course of development. See for more information.

We are currently developing a point-of-care detection approach for synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists, otherwise called synthetic cannabis or Spice. Spice use is epidemic in homeless groups and prison populations in the UK and other countries around the world, despite the severe side-effects of use. Our approach is based on spectral fingerprinting, combined with numerical modelling, enabling the detection of the range of different Spice-like molecules. The approach has applications in harm-reduction, supporting vulnerable users and in decreasing the flow of drugs into prisons.