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Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC). (8/11/22). "Press Release: Medicines Discovery Catapult and Zeiss Set Sights on Advancing Microscopy. Driving the Application of Microscopy in Drug Discovery".

Organisation Organisation Medicines Discovery Catapult Ltd. (MD Catapult) (GB)
  Group United Kingdom (GB) (govt)
Products Product microscopy
  Product 2 drug discovery

Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) and ZEISS have joined forces to improve drug discovery and early development of complex medicines by harnessing the power of advanced microscopy solutions.

Advanced microscopy techniques have emerged as a foundation of biomedical research, capable of visualising cellular functions at very high resolution, whilst being minimally invasive to the cells or tissues of interest. Incorporating advanced microscopy techniques into the early stages of the drug discovery process can provide invaluable information about drug activity within complex disease models.

Combining MDC’s expertise in cell biology and drug discovery with ZEISS’ microscope instrumentation and image analysis capabilities, the partnership will drive the application of advanced microscopy workflows (e.g. confocal, lightsheet, multiphoton and super-resolution microscopy) to measure the interaction between drug molecules and biological systems, and develop assays specifically tailored to drug discovery.

ZEISS is an international technology company and producer of microscopy hardware and software solutions with a market-leading portfolio of light, electron and X-ray microscopy solutions as well as accompanying software solutions for acquisition, analysis and workflow automation.

MDC is reshaping the UK’s medicines discovery industry, transforming great UK science into better treatments through partnership. It works to tackle industry-led challenges, overcoming the barriers that limit today’s drug discovery with effective interventions and industrialising new technologies to drive the adoption of new scientific tools and techniques for discovering medicines.

Aligned to this mission, MDC has established specialist advanced microscopy capabilities within their state-of-the-art Alderley Park based laboratory facilities - utilising several ZEISS microscopes to answer drug discovery questions by applying a range of advanced microscopy solutions.

Building upon that relationship, this collaboration allows MDC to further develop a unique advanced microscopy capability for drug discovery whilst informing the industrial application and future development of ZEISS instruments.

Pivotal to the collaboration is a joint project to develop advanced microscopy methods for analysis of complex medicines. Assessment of cellular internalisation, to ensure that a lead molecule can enter the cell and deliver an effective response, is a critical step in the development of complex medicines. In the project, MDC and ZEISS will produce a live cell imaging and image analysis pipeline that can be deployed to assess novel drug delivery technologies and therapeutics, enabling innovators to advance their projects.

Michael Albiez, Head of ZEISS Research Microscopy Solutions, said:
“We are very excited about partnering with MDC to pursue our mutual goal of enabling drug hunters across the globe to discover and develop better drugs faster. Pairing MDC’s expertise in drug discovery with our unique capabilities across imaging modalities, workflow automation, and AI-powered image analysis will undoubtedly pave the way for powerful new discoveries in biopharma.”

Dr Martin Main, Chief Scientist at MDC, said:
“Advanced microscopy offers an array of benefits to drug discovery, from characterising complex cell models of disease, to understanding the molecular mechanism of drug action. MDC’s Advanced Microscopy capability allows UK drug discovery innovators access to this critical R&D resource to progress their targets more efficiently and effectively, bringing better treatments to patients, faster.

“Through this partnership, we will push the boundaries of advanced microscopy in drug discovery, further driving the adoption of new scientific tools and techniques for drug discovery.”


Media contact:

Georgia Smith, Communications Manager, Medicines Discovery Catapult 

Notes to Editors

About Medicines Discovery Catapult

Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation and part of the Catapult Network established by Innovate UK.

MDC’s vision is to reshape drug discovery for the benefit of patients, by transforming great UK science into better treatments through partnership.

MDC is in place to tackle industry-led challenges overcoming the barriers that face UK life-science businesses with effective interventions and industrialising new technologies to drive the adoption of new scientific tools and techniques for discovering medicines.

More information:


ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. In the previous fiscal year, the ZEISS Group generated annual revenue totaling 7.5 billion euros in its four segments Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Industrial Quality & Research, Medical Technology and Consumer Markets (status: 30 September 2021).

For its customers, ZEISS develops, produces and distributes highly innovative solutions for industrial metrology and quality assurance, microscopy solutions for the life sciences and materials research, and medical technology solutions for diagnostics and treatment in ophthalmology and microsurgery. The name ZEISS is also synonymous with the world's leading lithography optics, which are used by the chip industry to manufacture semiconductor components. There is global demand for trendsetting ZEISS brand products such as eyeglass lenses, camera lenses and binoculars.

With a portfolio aligned with future growth areas like digitalization, healthcare and Smart Production and a strong brand, ZEISS is shaping the future of technology and constantly advancing the world of optics and related fields with its solutions. The company's significant, sustainable investments in research and development lay the foundation for the success and continued expansion of ZEISS' technology and market leadership. ZEISS invests 13 percent of its revenue in research and development – this high level of expenditure has a long tradition at ZEISS and is also an investment in the future.

With over 35,000 employees, ZEISS is active globally in almost 50 countries with around 30 production sites, 60 sales and service companies and 27 research and development facilities. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. The Carl Zeiss Foundation, one of the largest foundations in Germany committed to the promotion of science, is the sole owner of the holding company, Carl Zeiss AG.

ZEISS Research Microscopy Solutions

ZEISS Research Microscopy Solutions is the world's only one-stop manufacturer of light, electron, X-ray and ion microscope systems and offers solutions for correlative microscopy. The portfolio comprises of products and services for life sciences, materials and industrial research, as well as education and clinical practice. The unit is headquartered in Jena. Additional production and development sites are located in Oberkochen and Munich, as well as in Cambourne (UK) and Dublin (USA). ZEISS Research Microscopy Solutions is part of the Industrial Quality & Research segment.

More information:

Record changed: 2023-06-05


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