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New US drug discovery institute partners with Takeda

Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute to cover communicable, chronic and rare conditions

Japanese pharma company Takeda has forged an alliance with a new drug discovery institute in the US set up by three top-tier academic institutions.

The non-profit Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute (Tri-I TDI) will bring together scientists from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller University and Weill Cornell Medical College and will focus on basic research and early-stage drug discovery up to the 'proof-of-concept' stage.

Projects to be tackled by the Institute range from communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV and malaria to chronic conditions like Alzheimer's, cancer, heart disease and obesity, along with neglected or orphan diseases that affect small numbers of people, said the Institute.

Takeda is collaborating with the Tri-I TDI and will "benefit drug discovery work at all three institutions", it added.  The company is partnering with the new institute on the development of new small-molecule drugs and will contribute medical chemistry and pharmacology expertise to the consortium.

The drugmaker - like a number of its peers in the industry - has been adopting a more collaborative approach to R&D of late, for example joining and helping to fund the open-source Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), an initiative to map 3D structures of biomedically-relevant proteins.

The Tri-I-TDI model does not entirely follow an open innovation model - each scientist's home institution will retain its intellectual property - but it will allow sharing of expertise and facilities and has the aim of creating "IP that can be further developed by an open field of industry collaborators".

Takeda said that candidate drugs derived from the work at Tri-I TDI "may be licensed out to complete the later steps of drug development, such as manufacturing and the conduct of clinical trials."

The Tri-I TDI will be supported with philanthropic donations of $15m from Lewis and Ali Sanders and $5m from Howard and Abby Milstein.

Article by
Phil Taylor

3rd October 2013

From: Research

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