Scientific quality and output at Amsterdam Neuroscience is world leading. However, research insights also need to lead to development and out-licensing of new medications. CANDIDATE Center intends to bridge the two and will work hand-in-hand with principal investigators to convert insight in disease pathways into a drug development project.

CANDIDATE Center operates as a translational drug development unit within Amsterdam Neuroscience, accessible to all principal investigators within Amsterdam Neuroscience. The center provides expertise and facilities for target discovery and drug development for CNS indications. We are located and embedded in the Functional Genomics (FGA) department of the Center of Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR).

Translational drug development

Investigators are able to approach CANDIDATE Center with ideas about disease mechanisms or model systems, which can be a starting point for a screening and drug development effort. Depending on the project, a target discovery/validation effort is initiated or a drug screen will be developed. This will entail genetic CRISPR screens to identify novel targets for a phenotype of interest, or the design, optimization and execution of drug screens using enzymatic assays. The ultimate goal of these efforts is to jointly generate novel composition of matter intellectual property, i.e. drugs. Additionally, with every project an effort for the development of a companion diagnostic is started.

Working model CANDIDATE Center

Infographic of working model of CANDIDATE Center

Collaboration with CANDIDATE Center

Projects are always executed as a collaboration between the involved principal investigator(s) and CANDIDATE Center. We aim to start two new projects every six months. Selection of the projects will be based on a short project proposal, and will be done in collaboration with our advisory board. The project guidelines and the project proposal can be found below. The proposal deadlines for this year are May 15, 2023 and December 15, 2023.


If you would like to find out how we can help you translate your basic science to a drug development study, please contact Ruud Wijdeven ( to plan a meeting. We are looking forward to hearing your ideas!

CANDIDATE Center team

Ruud Wijdeven:

Pieter van Bokhoven:

Jort Vijverberg:

Rik van der Kant

Kim de Kleijn:

Raluca Blujdea:

Advisory board

Yolande Pijnenburg, co-director Amsterdam Neuroscience

Guus Smit, co-director Amsterdam Neuroscience

Marten Smidt, co-director Amsterdam Neuroscience