Florida Hospital, Sanford-Burnham and Takeda renew research agreement

Published on February 12, 2013 at 2:44 AM · No Comments

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) and Florida Hospital announced today that they have renewed a research agreement with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Takeda) to extend their collaboration to discover and evaluate new therapeutic approaches to obesity. The collaboration uses a research and drug-development model that creates an early feedback loop in the discovery pipeline. The partners expect this model will shorten the time to develop new therapeutics.

Interest in the development of obesity treatments remains strong, as the regulatory approval of two new obesity therapeutics in 2012 offered a proven pathway for drug candidates. "As the worldwide obesity crisis continues to escalate, we are seeing a rise in the prevalence of severe obesity-defined by BMI>40-and we know that this subset of the obese population experiences increased mortality and associated diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer," said Steven R. Smith, M.D., scientific director of the Florida Hospital - Sanford-Burnham Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes (TRI) and president-elect of The Obesity Society. "These statistics are staggering and clearly demonstrate the need to rapidly develop treatment strategies for obesity."

The partnership combines complementary strengths in basic and clinical research at Sanford-Burnham and the TRI with Takeda's drug development expertise. The partners expect collaboration in the early discovery phase to accelerate the two-way exchange of valuable insights between laboratory research and clinical testing. Scientists evaluate discoveries made at Sanford-Burnham in a clinical setting at the TRI to ensure that only clinically relevant targets are pursued.

"Our collaborative model for innovative bench-to-bedside translational research offers much promise for expediting new drug candidates into Takeda's development pipeline. This approach allows us to identify new therapeutic targets and to evaluate clinical utility more efficiently than in the traditional drug development process," said Daniel P. Kelly, M.D., scientific director, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute at Lake Nona.

The next phase of research will expand upon the therapeutic target identification conducted during the first two years of the partnership. Sanford-Burnham has used advanced technologies, including genomic and metabolite profiling, to identify metabolic signatures, genes, and pathways that could serve as novel drug targets and corresponding biomarkers. The next set of projects aims at investigating factors that regulate energy metabolism, including cross-talk between metabolically relevant tissues.

Through this novel partnership model, the collaborators hope to discover new therapeutic options for the ever-growing obese population around the world and to make the drug development process more efficient. The ultimate goal is to deliver innovative, safe, and more personalized obesity treatments to patients faster.

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