Dr Iain Greig

Dr Iain Greig
Dr Iain Greig
Dr Iain Greig


Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 437370
Office Address

IMS 6.35 Tel 01224 437370

School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition


I am a medicinal chemist involved in small molecule drug discovery, with an interest in developing and commercialising new treatments for a number of different diseases. I have developed novel treatments for a wide range of disorders including: heart failure, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, neurodegeneration, and a project which is developing a first-in-class treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, which has recently met its Phase IIa clinical trial primary endpoint. Current projects include development of allosteric modulators of the cannabinoid receptors for the treatment of depression, schizophrenia/bipolar disorder, and liver fibrosis; and novel drugs for the prevention of neurodegeneration and treatment of multiple sclerosis. 

My broader role within the Institute, as Head of Operations for the Kosterlitz Centre for Therapeutics, is to provide the expertise that allows us to identify the opportunities for target validation and drug discovery, to coordinate and fund the required multidisciplinary studies, and to manage the associated intellectual property and commercial aspects. Alongside medicinal chemistry and pharmacology, I have a background in physical organic chemistry at the University of St. Andrews and biophysics at Cornell University; I also am involved in the commercialisation process and was awarded an RSE Fellowship to provide the requisite experience, prior to founding two University of Aberdeen spin-out companies, OsteoRx (rheumatoid arthritis) and Signal Pharma (pain).  

Following on from two UK-Canada Collaboration Development awards from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, I am a regular Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto and have a number of joint research collaborations for drug discovery projects.

I am a keen mountaineer and have climbed various peaks in the Himalayas, Andes, Rockies and Cascades; high points have been the stunning Illimani in Bolivia (6439m) and Ojos Del Salado, the world's highest volcano, in Chile (6893m).



Research Overview

Drug Discovery, Medicinal Chemistry, Intellectual Property Management, Commercialisation

Current Research

Novel small molecule drugs for the treatment of:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthitis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and steatohepatitis 
  • Heart Failure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cancer, expecially metastatic breast cancer
  • Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders
  • Neuropathic and inflammatory pain
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity and other addictive disorders


The Kosterlitz Centre for Therapeutics has close links to the Toronto Centre for Collaborative Drug Research and I have a number of collaborative projects with the University of Toronto and affliated hospitals.

Funding and Grants

Motor Neurone Disease Association Development of RAR class ligands for treatment of motor neuron disease (2021–2025), £242k

Canadian Institutes for Health Research: Development and Characterization of Novel CB1 Allosteric Modulators (2020-2025), $765k


BBSRC PhD Studentship: Application of artificial intelligence-driven design of function-directed ligands for selective retinoic acid receptor binding (2018-2022), £93k


Roemex Ltd: Development of new drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (2019–2021), $110k


Multiple Sclerosis Society: Identification and Characterization of Small Molecules for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis, (2017-2021) $838k


Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Proof of Principle Phase II : Development and Commercialisation of a Novel Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis, (2016-2018) $599k


Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Proof of Principle Phase I: Development and Validation of GPR55 Modulators for the Treatment Osteoclast-Mediated Disorders, (2016 - 2018), $155,600


BBSRC Follow-on Fund: Discovery that a dual-action screen (genomic/non-genomic) identifies retinoic acid receptor ligands of highest neurotrophic potency, (2017 - 2019), £249,710


Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Proof of Principle Phase II: Development and Commercialisation of Allosteric Modulators for the Treatment of Pain, (2015 - 2018), $489,920

Medical Research Council, Confidence in Concept: The Aberdeen Translational Accelerator Fund: bridging biomedical innovation and translational impact, (2015 – 2016), £200,000

Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK-Canada Collaboration Development Awards, (2014 and 2015)

Signal Pharma Ltd: Development of a novel treatment for heart failure; (2013-2017), £151,274

Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Proof of Principle Phase I: Development and Testing of Small Molecule Allosteric Modulators for the Treatment of Pain, (2013–2014), $157,999

MSD SULSA Postdoctoral Fellowship: Development and Application of new fluorination techniques in the synthesis of therapeutics and diagnostics. (2013 – 2015)

MSD SULSA Postdoctoral Fellowship: Identification of compounds to interfere with chitin synthesis.  (2013 – 2014)

MSD SULSA, PhD Studentship: A Novel Hypothalamic Receptor in Obesity and Metabolic Health, (2012-2015)

Tenovus, PhD Studentship: A Novel glutamate receptor. (2012 – 2015)

BBSRC: Development and Testing of Peripherally-restricted small molecule allosteric Inhibitors of the Cannabinoid CB1 Receptor, (2011 – 2012)

Development Trust: A novel therapy for diastolic heart failure, (2011 - 2013)

SULSA: Fragment-based Screening for Development of Inhibitors targeting a Vulnerable Epitope on HIV-1 Envelope Glycoprotein, (2012-2013)

SULSA Chemistry Catalyst Fund:  Development of stable tumour-targeting peptide vectors;  (2011)

SULSA Chemistry Catalyst Fund: Development of novel DDAH inhibitors for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases; (2011)

SULSA Chemistry Catalyst Fund:  Peripherally-restricted CB1 Allosteric Inhibitors for the Treatment of Type-2 Diabetes; (2011)

Development Trust: Commercial Validation of Kosterlitz Centre for Therapeutics Projects; Greig IR, Ross RA, Bewick G; Zanda M, Gow N (2011 - 2012)

Knowledge Transfer Grant: Screening of a Natural Product Library for Novel Chemotherapeutic Agents; (2010)

Parkinson's Disease Society:   Assessment of a novel lead structure for the neuroprotective treatment of Parkinson's disease; (2010 - 2011)

Knowledge Transfer Grant: A Novel Retinoid Receptor with Therapeutic Potential;  (2010) 

BBSRC: Development and Testing of Small Molecule Allosteric Enhancers of the Cannabinoid CB1 Receptor; (2009 – 2010)

Knowledge Transfer Grant: Novel HTS platform for drug discovery in neurodegenerative disease; (2009)

NESTech (Scottish Universities Challenge Fund): Targeting novel receptors involved in metastatic breast cancer; (2009 - 2010)

SULSA: Discovery of lead small molecules targeting the allosteric binding site on the cannabinoid CB1 receptor; (2009)

Knowledge Transfer Grant: Allosteric modulators of the cannabinoid receptors for pain relief;  (2008)

NESTech (Scottish Universities Challenge Fund): A Novel treatment for obesity; (2008 - 2009)

Modern Biosciences: Novel Anti-inflammatory agents; (2007 – 2010)

Knowledge Transfer Grant: A Neuroprotective therapy for Parkinson's disease; (2007)

Knowledge Transfer Grant: Commercialisation of Cannabinoid-based projects; (2006 – 2008)

NESTech (Scottish Universities Challenge Fund): Novel Bone Resorption Inhibitors;  (2006 – 2008)

Arthritis Research Campaign: Small molecule inhibitors of TNF signalling as novel anti-rheumatic agents; (2005 – 2007)

Scottish Enterprise, Proof of Concept Follow on: Novel Bone Resorption Inhibitors; (2005 – 2006)

Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship in Biotechnology: Novel therapeutic agents for bone disease; (2003 – 2004)

Scottish Enterprise, Proof of concept: Novel Bone Resorption Inhibitors: (2002 - 2004)


Teaching Responsibilities

I am the coordinator for the undergraduate Biobusiness Programme

I am the course coordinator for

  • BT2501 (Introduction to Biobusiness and Bioentrepreneurship
  • SM3004 (Frontiers of Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics)
  • BT3502 (Biobusiness)
  • BT4506 (Advanced Biobusiness)
  • BT5016 (Introduction to Commercialisation and Biobusiness

I contribute to the teaching and delivery of

  • MC3504 (Molecular Microbiology)
  • BT5013 (Small Molecule Drug Discovery)
  • BT5015 (Introduction to Commercialisation and Biobusiness)
  • BT5508 (Advanced Biobusiness and the Commercialisation of Bioscience)



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