A centre to boost the treatment of infectious diseases in developing countries is to be created at a university.
The £6.5 million facility at the University of Dundee will create 11 new jobs for scientists over five years to make a key stage of drug development for conditions such as tuberculosis (TB), malaria and African sleeping sickness more efficient.
It will focus on "lead optimisation", where potential drugs are improved through trial and error to prepare them for clinical tests.
This takes a significant amount of man-hours and laboratory resources over a number of years to pinpoint which molecules target the diseases, creating a "bottle-neck" effect after possible treatments are discovered.
Professor Paul Wyatt and colleagues from the university's drug discovery unit (DDU) secured joint funding for the project from Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates' foundation and the Wellcome Trust.
Prof Wyatt said: "One of the main aims of the drug discovery unit is to make inroads into developing drugs for diseases that affected the developing world. We have the capability through the DDU to help break the bottleneck which occurs at a key stage of the drug discovery process."
The project will first focus on TB, for which current treatments are said to be outdated and take six months to cure patients, potentially allowing time for the disease to spread, become resistant to the drug or even result in death of the patient.
The team will work with global organisations HIT-TB and TB Drug Accelerator Program to find which drugs are most likely to make it to clinical trials before screening.
Dr Richard Seabrook, head of business development at the Wellcome Trust, said: "We are pleased to be co-funding with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on this exciting UK project, bringing together internationally-renowned experts in the biology of infectious diseases with a first-class drug delivery unit to tackle some of the world's most profound medical needs."
TB is second only to HIV and AIDS as the greatest infectious killer worldwide, causing 1.4 million deaths in 2010, as well as infecting 8.8 million people, 450,000 of whom were resistant to existing therapies.