Small Drug Molecules Discovery Initiative (SDMDI)

The AHRO Small Drug Molecules Discovery Initiative (SDMDI) aims to accelerate drug discovery by identifying small molecules that modulate biological processes and have the potential to impact disease states. SDMDI is part of the AHRO Center for Academic Research and works in collaboration with stakeholders to achieve this mission. The initiative is headed by Professor Abubakar Yaro.

Laboratory: Yes

Clinical: Not Applicable

Animal: Not Applicable



The Small Drug Molecules Discovery Initiative aims to identify preclinical small molecules that target and modulate the biological activity of key disease-driving proteins. This will involve the molecular design, chemical synthesis, and biophysical and biological evaluation of the synthesized small molecules. The initiative will focus on several important pathways that play key roles in disease progression, with a focus on developing a Target Product Profile (TPP) that captures the benefits of novel therapeutic drugs to satisfy key stakeholders, including funders and regulators.


  • Screening and chemical optimization
  • Drug repurposing
  • CRISPR-Cas
  • Screening of whole organisms
  • Screening natural products
  • Tethering


The development of small molecule compounds to clinical levels is associated with significant costs that must be met. Additionally, taxes such as VAT need to be added to manufacturing and/or services not resulting in a medicinal product.

The AHRO-Canada Office supports AHRO researchers in attracting and managing public, commercial, investor, and philanthropic funding for the development of small molecules and pre-clinical studies. These projects are then partnered with pharmaceutical companies to help progress them to clinical studies. AHRO-Canada is responsible for the commercialization and intellectual property (IP) of these projects.


  • In silico screening of antiviral drugs for HHVs: Repurposing¬† Approach Host directed therapies for mycobacterium drug discovery
  • Targeting STAT5 as a potential drug for EBV
  • Novel inhibitors against Dengue virus
  • Development of novel inhibitors for influenza virus