Services and Resources

Charting a Path to Drug Discovery

The path leading to successful drug discovery and development is long and complex. Careful planning, navigation, and collaboration are keys to success. The Arizona Center for Drug Discovery (ACDD) was established to provide this type of dedicated support and guidance to researchers as they traverse the intricate world of drug discovery and development in an academic setting.

ACDD Services and Resources

The ACDD offers a unique one-stop-shop experience where researchers at all stages of the development process can find tailored support to fit their current and future needs. ACDD services include:

  • Assistance in aligning research interests, building comprehensive research plans and proposals.
  • Mentorship in the drug discovery process based on broad understanding of pharma and biotech opportunities and gaps.
  • Established partnerships with university resources such as BIO5 Institute, the Arizona Cancer Center, Tech Launch Arizona, and many others.
  • Guidance and support to researchers on grant and funding applications.
  • Access to ACDD-specific resources including:

The ACDD has procured two small molecule libraries:

  •  A 35K-compound collection recently curated from ChemDiv includes the following subsets at 10 mM concentration: 9,671 CNS-biased, 9,994 PPI-biased, 8,991 diverse, 2,898 annotated, 1,680 fragment, and 1,766 covalent.
  • The FDA Spectrum collection was purchased from MicroSource Discovery Systems and has 2,560 compounds from three sources: 1,040 drugs that have reached clinical trial stages in the USA (each compound has been assigned USAN or USP status and is included in the authorized list of established names for drugs in the USA); 240 drugs that are marketed in Europe and/or Asia; and 1,280 pure natural products and their derivatives. 


Located in BIO5, ACDD's assay development and screening efforts are overseen by Celina Zerbinatti, PhD, and are supported by staff member Charlie Chen. 

  • Facilities & Equipment:
    • Approximately 520 sq. ft. of laboratory space for assay development is provided in room 124 of the Keating Bioresearch Building.
    • The assay development lab can accommodate up to 4 scientists and is outfitted with basic bench equipment, including: 384-well plate washer, 384-well liquid dispenser, microcentrifuge, vortex, orbital shaker, hot plates, cell counters, freezers in addition to designated cell culture incubators and tissue culture hood.
    • The ACDD assay development and screening core interfaces with the adjacently located Functional Genomics Core for access to high-throughput liquid dispensers and multiplate readers. 


  • ACDD utilizes CDD Vault as platform for compound and data management.
  • Additionally, Schrödinger, a physics-based, computational platform is availble to allow researchers to explore chemical space and predict molecular behavior with a high degree of accuracy.


Located in the newly renovated SKAGGS BUILDING, ACDDs small molecule medicinal chemistry efforts are overseen by WEI WANG, PHD, and are supported by two post-docs. Current project support includes SAR development for oncology project and gram quantity scale-up for late stage in vivo studies. 

  • Facilities & Equipment
    • Housed in the newly renovated and expanded Skaggs Pharmaceutical Sciences center, the ACDD provides researchers with access to state of the art equipment and an abundance of chemistry lab space for use in drug discovery research.
    • The laboratory has state-of-the-art instrumentation and capabilties including:
      • Biotage Intitator 8: Microwave reactor for synthesis
      • Jeol 400 Royal Probe: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer for structure determination
      • Peptide Syntesizer
      • Shimadzu LCMS-2020: Liquid chromatography system for preparative and analytical chemistry
      • CombiFlash Next Gen 300+: Flash chromatography system for purification


Molecular modeling facility with multi-processor hardware and modeling software has been established under ACDD. This facility will provide the University of Arizona investigators a platform for the use of computational techniques in drug discovery projects. Dr. Vijay Gokhale oversees this facility and he is available for consultation or discussion about the projects. Some of the capabilities available include:

  • Docking and virtual screening of compound libraries against protein structure.
  • Pharmacophore generation from active molecules and searches.
  • ADME property prediction.
  • Chemoinformatics, compound classification and clustering.
  • If you have specific questions about project or capabilities, please contact VIJAY GOKHALE, Associate Research Professor, BIO5 Institute GOKHALE@PHARMACY.ARIZONA.EDU 520-626-4224.