Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics

Prebys Center for Drug Discovery

The Prebys Center is the Institute's comprehensive center for drug discovery and chemical biology.

"Our vision is to be the world’s leading academic drug discovery and development organization, an epicenter for innovative approaches to accelerate the discovery of new drugs to help save lives and treat disease."

Michael Jackson, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Drug Discovery and Development
With our extensive pharmaceutical/biotech drug discovery and development experience, we are well-positioned to drive projects toward an end goal that will ultimately benefit patients. We have projects in all stages of drug discovery, from target I.D. and validation through preclinical development. We have a strong track record of being the partner of choice for academic, foundation and pharmaceutical partners, as well as generating original research and leads within our group.
The Prebys Center is fully equipped and staffed to conduct world-class drug discovery research. We are experts in assay development, high-throughput screening (HTS), and hit-to-lead/ lead optimization using industry best practices. We have achieved national recognition, selected as one of four comprehensive probe/drug discovery centers of the NIH Molecular Libraries Probe Production Centers Network (MLPCN) and one of seven comprehensive centers in the NCI’s Chemical Biology Consortium (CBC).


Our mission is to employ public and private grants, as well as philanthropy and other private gifts, to translate basic research conducted by faculty at Sanford Burnham Prebys and other academic and nonprofit research institutions into new medicines for unmet medical needs, and to partner with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to help bring these new medicines through clinical development and into the market and clinical practice.


Our history and evolution

Beginning in 2009, the Prebys Center has evolved from a chemical biology and probe production organization focused primarily on projects from the NIH Molecular Libraries program (MLP) to a fully capable drug discovery operation developing New Chemical Entities ready for clinical development. The Center has grown to 80 employees, and has extensive industry experience, with cross-disciplinary expertise, in discovering and developing pharmaceuticals.

The Center’s truly remarkable early drug discovery operation—with state of the art ultra high-throughput robots and extensive chemical libraries to identify the starting points for new drugs— was initially developed to enable it to serve as one of only three nationally-designated comprehensive center of the Molecule Libraries Probe Production Centers Network (MLPCN). During its time as a comprehensive center of the of MLPCN, the Prebys Center worked with investigators from over 50 institutes located throughout the USA, successfully completing 132 high throughput screen and generating 67 chemical probes (validated hits) that were subsequently published.

Since 2013, the Center has been diversifying its funding support by establishing collaborative alliances with pharmaceutical companies, health care organizations, disease foundations as well as through more traditional grants and contracts from state and government organizations.

These collaborations and partnerships represent a fundamental shift for the Prebys Center away from being primarily a Core Service to being an originator of drug discovery, and engine for drug development for the Institute and collaborators.

Core values

Scientific excellence. We conduct the rigorous discovery research needed to address difficult questions and provide objective, informative answers.

Technological development. We continuously develop the new technologies needed to improve the speed and probability of success of our drug discovery and translation efforts.

Focus on translation into medicines. Aware of the urgent needs of tens of millions of patients for new medicines, we focus on diseases and therapeutic areas incompletely served by traditional sources of new medicines innovation to save and extend healthy life.

Stewardship and accountability. We are responsible stewards of the gifted, granted, and partnered resources provided to us, and of the medical and scientific potential inherent in existing and new knowledge uncovered by researchers throughout the world.

Knowledge creation and sharing. We create new knowledge through our research, and through its sharing and publication we enable others to further progress and translate our and their work into new medicines to alleviate patient suffering and save and extend healthy life.

Partnership. We want and need to combine our resources and talents with others to assemble the multidisciplinary teams necessary for successful drug discovery and development.

Conrad Prebys

The Prebys Center is fortunate to have been the recipient of the generosity of this visionary man. In June 2009, Conrad Prebys made a generous $10 million pledge for the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. This gift provided the seed funding to catalyze the Center’s transformation from a core service provider to a state-of-the-art drug discovery center, whose driving mission is to translate scientific breakthroughs into the medicines of tomorrow.

The Prebys Center honors the responsibility Conrad Prebys entrusted in it and strives every day to make a difference in research and medicine.