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Sanford-Burnham to Partner with Pfizer

Published: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
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The collaboration will see the organisations identify new therapeutic targets for preventing and treating complications of obesity and diabetes.

The team will utilize novel screening tools including systems-biology approaches and technologies developed at the Institute with the aim of discovering new therapeutic strategies for reducing insulin resistance in obesity and diabetes. 

Under the three-year agreement, multi-disciplinary teams from Sanford-Burnham and Pfizer will collaborate to identify and validate new targets for drug discovery. The collaboration combines our expertise in fundamental disease biology and muscle metabolism with Pfizer’s expertise in drug discovery. Investigators will utilize the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics to screen for new relevant targets using investigational compounds from Pfizer as well as evaluate compounds previously identified from the NIH chemical library. Once the screening identifies compounds of interest, Sanford-Burnham and Pfizer scientists will collaborate to characterize and further study the “hit” compounds to understand their mechanism of action. These compounds will then be used as “probes” to identify novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of diabetes. 

Finding new medicines for diabetes 
“Diabetes presents an enormous public health burden. There is an acute need to translate innovative science into potential new medicines for people living with this debilitating disease,” said Tim Rolph, Vice President and Head of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Research Unit at Pfizer. “Pfizer’s collaboration with Sanford-Burnham to use their cutting-edge screen designs is an example of our strategy to work with academic innovators to discover novel therapeutics for prevention and treatment of diabetes.” Pfizer will have access to Sanford-Burnham’s team of world-class scientists and translational infrastructure dedicated to finding new approaches to targeting disease. Collaborating with researchers at a major pharmaceutical company will help us achieve our mission of translating high-impact science into new therapies. “This important collaboration focuses our tremendous scientific and translational firepower on a major medical problem – complications of obesity-related diabetes. Working with Pfizer, we can more quickly bridge the gap between basic and translational research,” said Stephen Gardell, Ph.D., senior director of scientific resources in our Diabetes and Obesity Research Center. 

Advancing drug discovery in the Prebys Center
The Prebys Center houses Sanford-Burnham’s state-of-the-art screening facility established to accelerate the rate of commercialization of basic research in an independent medical research setting. Our discovery capabilities include: ultra-high throughput screening, high-content screening, phenotypic screening, and target-deconvolution technologies. The Prebys Center is led and staffed by industry-trained professionals who work closely with Sanford-Burnham investigators and industry collaborators to translate scientific findings into actionable drug discovery projects.


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