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UCB teams up with Harvard for CNS research

Published on 02/03/11 at 10:54am

UCB has signed a new research collaboration with Harvard University that will focus on central nervous system and immunology therapies.

The Belgium-based company says it will bring its expertise on antibody generation and medicinal chemistry to the alliance, and will provide up to $6 million over two years to fund specific innovative research projects led by Harvard scientists.

The alliance will advance ongoing Harvard research projects along the drug development pathway, and aims to create a drug discovery bridge between industry and academia.

The new collaboration is part of a recent upsurge pharma-academic alliances, with pharmaceutical companies hoping to increase their success ratees in drug discovery by working with the best academic researchers.

“The aim of our alliance with Harvard is to create a two-way exchange of knowledge and expertise that will facilitate the successful development of innovative new drugs. This collaboration is the latest milestone in our new innovation model in UCB NewMedicines,” says Ismail Kola, president of UCB New Medicines.

UCB says its new innovation model aims to capitalise on external scientific advances, resources and expertise through collaborations that complement its internal capabilities.
Harvard and UCB will have regular selection meetings to determine which other ongoing Harvard projects to fund during the collaboration.

The first research project funded under the Harvard-UCB alliance is a collaboration with Professor Gökhan Hotamisligil, chair of the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at Harvard School of Public Health, to generate and develop antibodies against an exciting target with potential application in a range of diseases including diabetes and metabolic disorders.

Commenting on the alliance, Harvard’s chief technology development officer and head of its Office of Technology Development Isaac Kohlberg said: “We are delighted to enter into this innovative collaboration with UCB, one of many sought by Harvard which joins together leaders in academia and industry to expedite groundbreaking research more rapidly from the lab to the clinic.

“It exemplifies Harvard’s growing commitment to collaborate with industry in creative ways that will advance the boundaries of translational research, thereby realising our core mission to serve the public interest.”

Andrew McConaghie

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