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S-A collaborates with US university

Partnerships aim to promote innovative research and oncology projects

Sanofi-aventis (S-A) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), have formed two research and development collaborations to advance groundbreaking innovation from the laboratory to the patient.

The first will promote innovative research in pharmacological science and in multiple therapeutic areas, such as oncology, ageing, diabetes and inflammation. The second is an oncology partnership that will focus on project-based collaboration to accelerate research through the clinical proof of concept stage.

S-A will be the first industry partner for UCSF's Programme for Breakthrough Biomedical Research (PBBR). The PBBR awards funding to projects of potentially high impact, greater creativity and with an innovative approach to scientific discovery. The partnership with UCSF sits well with S-A's approach of setting up networks of creativity spread across regions, technologies and scientific areas of excellence.

Under the terms of the agreement, a UCSF/S-A joint committee will choose from UCSF-generated proposals identified for their scientific excellence. S-A will fund up to five grants a year, with additional funds being available for students or fellows to intern at S-A to conduct collaborative research. In addition, S-A will fund an annual research forum that will bring together S-A and UCSF researchers to share knowledge and perspectives on relevant scientific matters and to review progress of research projects funded through the collaboration.

"As the largest public biomedical research institution in America, UCSF is dedicated to accelerating the translation of leading-edge research into state-of-the-art care for patients," said UCSF chancellor Dr Susan Desmond-Hellmann. "These collaborations will help support ground-breaking projects that could offer the greatest possibilities in each of these fields."

"Joining forces with UCSF researchers emphasises sanofi-aventis' commitment to establish strong relationships and collaborations with the best innovators in the world," said Christopher Viehbacher, S-A's CEO. "By promoting open and deep scientific exchange between UCSF's leading researchers and sanofi-aventis' drug development experts, we aim to generate significant healthcare advances in multiple therapeutic areas, to discover and develop comprehensive healthcare solutions for patients."

Now in its 14th year, PBBR provided $42m in grants during its first decade alone, which have drawn more than $300m in external follow-up funding, as well as generating 900 scientific papers, 30 filed patents, licensed technologies and three start-up companies.

12th January 2011

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