Participant profile: Beacon Discovery

Translating the science of G-Protein Coupled Receptors into new medicines.

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Beacon Discovery’s mission is to efficiently identify and advance molecules targeting GPCRs from concept to clinic. In collaboration with several pharma and biotech partners, Beacon is leveraging its strengths and experience to rapidly discover compounds for the treatment of unmet medical needs.

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Working at the forefront of GPCR research to target CNS, GI and liver disease

Beacon Discovery was founded in 2016 to take advantage of modern advances in the science of G-Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs). The company is focused on specific targets in the central nervous system, gastrointestinal and liver disease areas, exploring innovative pathway-directed and primary cell-based methodologies to uncover new GPCR-mediated approaches to these and other therapeutic areas.

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Bringing together a wealth of expertise to advance GPCR drug discovery

Comprised of a team of dedicated scientists who have worked together for more than a decade, Beacon Discovery was founded to take advantage of a unique collection of expertise in GPCR drug discovery. Beacon’s scientists have extensive experience in GPCR approaches, and, during the course of their careers,
they have delivered more than 20 compounds into clinical testing.

Meet the team

Carleton Sage profile thumbnail

Carleton Sage

Vice President, Computational Sciences

Carleton Sage, who has worked in the biotech industry for 19 years, was Research Fellow in Computational Systems at Arena Pharmaceuticals before coming to Beacon Discovery. He developed and applied novel computational approaches to internal and partnered drug discovery and design projects. These projects delivered more than a dozen molecules into preclinical and clinical development in the areas of Metabolism, CNS, Inflammation and Cardiovascular disease.

David Unett profile thumbnail

David Unett

Vice President, Receptor Pharmacology

David Unett has more than 20 years of pharmacology and drug discovery experience in industrial and academic settings. Most recently, he served as VP of Receptor Pharmacology at Arena Pharmaceuticals, leading a team responsible for assay development, high throughput screening, in vitro SAR support and detailed pharmacological characterization of lead candidates.

Graeme Semple profile thumbnail

Graeme Semple

Vice President, Chemistry

Graeme Semple has over 26 years of drug discovery experience, working in biotech and big pharma. He most recently served as VP of Discovery Chemistry at Arena Pharmaceuticals and oversaw medicinal chemistry and early development projects, with more than a dozen of these projects delivering candidates into preclinical and clinical development. Graeme is a co-inventor of the GnRH antagonist drug Firmagon ® (Degarelix) which has been approved in 74 countries.

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Andrew Grottick

Vice President, CNS Drug Discovery

With two decades of drug discovery experience in Europe and the US, Andy Grottick most recently worked at Arena Pharmaceuticals as the Head of CNS Drug Discovery. In this role he was the in vivo pharmacology lead on the 5-HT2C agonist project which produced Belviq, working on the project from first dosing in vivo through regulatory approval in the US. Andy worked collaboratively on projects with other companies, including Eli Lilly and Taisho, and led and supported a number of other programs into preclinical and clinical development.


"Leveraging the integrated data in Reaxys Med Chem and Pathway Studio will help us uncover new targets for potential new indications." Carleton Sage, Vice President, Computational Sciences
"I’m looking forward to getting real-time access to articles via ScienceDirect and up-to-date information on which targets are hot via PharmaPendium and Scopus. I will also be probing Pathway Studio to shed light on the fundamental biology needed to find new targets." David Unett, Vice President, Receptor Pharmacology
"Being able to use the integrated synthetic chemistry and medicinal chemistry data in Reaxys and Reaxys Med Chem will be valuable to my work. I also can’t wait to explore new research areas using PharmaPendium and Scopus." Graeme Semple, Vice President, Chemistry
"We will be utilizing Pathway Studio to help us understand the detailed biology of our targets. Access to scientific articles in ScienceDirect and the ability to keep an eye on research areas with PharmaPendium and Scopus will be a real advantage." Andrew Grottick, Vice President, CNS Drug Discovery

Learn more about Elsevier's R&D solutions for drug discovery
and development utilized by Beacon Discovery:


Improve R&D productivity with a chemistry research solution that delivers experimental facts on chemical structures, properties, reactions and procedures.
Learn more about Reaxys

Reaxys Medicinal Chemistry

Empower hit identification and lead optimization with normalized compound–target affinity data and comprehensive pharmacokinetic, efficacy, toxicity, safety and metabolic profiles.
Learn more about Reaxys Medicinal Chemistry


Increase the discovery of biomedical evidence to support critical life sciences functions, with access to the world's most comprehensive biomedical literature database.
Learn more about Embase


Enable better informed preclinical drug safety decisions with comprehensive, fully searchable FDA/EMA drug approval documents and comparative extracted drug safety data.
Learn more PharmaPendium


Enable researchers to more effectively and efficiently search authoritative, full-text scientific, technical and health content through the use of smart, intuitive functionality.
Learn more about ScienceDirect

Pathway Studio

Enable better understanding of biological processes underlying disease progression and treatment response, with a solution that helps researchers interpret experimental data from scientific literature.
Learn more about Pathway Studio


Help researchers discover trends, partners and experts with the world’s largest abstract & citation database of peer-reviewed literature, including tools to track, analyze and visualize research.
Learn more about Scopus