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Takeda joins open-source research consortium

Signs up to the Structural Genomics Consortium

Japan's Takeda has become the latest pharma company to join the open-source Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), which determines the three-dimensional structure of biomedically-relevant proteins.

Set up in 2004, the SGC is based at the University of Toronto in Canada and Oxford University in the UK and involves more than 200 researchers across academia and industry.

The core objective of the public-private partnership is to carry out structural biology on a large-scale, identifying new drug targets that will help bring new and more effective medicines to market faster.

The SGC is now responsible for putting more than a quarter of all the new human protein structures into the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics' Protein Data Bank (PDB)every year, as well as over half of the proteins identified from human parasites.

As of September 2011, the SGC had published the structures of over 1200 proteins with implications to the development of new therapies for cancer, diabetes, obesity, and psychiatric disorders.

Takeda said its involvement raises the amount of funding put up by pharma companies into the SGC to $50m, and represents "a significant increase in industry funding from the previous four years when three drug makers provided $13m in funds".

"This is a strong endorsement of a novel business model, which relies on collaboration to share the risks of early-stage research, and reduce costs of drug discovery so we can get effective new medicines to market faster, and into the hands of physicians and patients sooner," commented Aled Edwards, the chief executive of the SGC.

The SGC receives funding from GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, the Novartis Research Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, and Canadian granting agencies. In addition to funding the pharmaceutical companies also provide in-kind contributions, primarily medicinal chemistry resources, for collaborative discovery of chemical tool compounds that target disease-linked proteins.

4th April 2012

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