The first successful collaboration “CureBeta” was established in March 2011 to develop new diabetes therapies targeting beta cell regeneration.
Now Harvard, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Evotec also bring together extensive expertise and know-how in kidney biology, physiology and disease along with a unique set of tools to identify, validate and develop candidate targets and biomarkers. The alliance will pursue systematic and unbiased approaches towards the identification of kidney disease relevant mechanisms with particular interest in mechanisms with disease modifying potential. This program “CureNephron” is designed to deliver and exploit novel therapeutic targets as well as biomarkers that allow more accurate diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of chronic and acute kidney disease.
Advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) and severe forms of acute kidney injury have very limited treatment options and are associated with high morbidity and mortality. Patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) suffer from complete loss of kidney function and have to be treated by dialysis, a costly and burdensome procedure with limited efficacy and generally poor prognosis. Novel therapeutic approaches are needed that have the potential to protect and restore the function of key kidney cell types aiming to slow and reverse disease progression for patients with non-dialysis dependent CKD as well as patients with ESRD on dialysis.
“We are extremely proud to work with Dr. Andy McMahon and Dr. Ben Humphreys, who are highly accomplished scientists and clinicians in this exciting field. Together with Evotec scientists they will be part of a uniquely cross functional team covering kidney biology, physiology, and disease as well as leading drug discovery expertise. Our combined efforts will lead to new insights into kidney disease biology and fuel a pipeline of commercially exciting drug candidates in acute and chronic kidney disease,” said Dr. Cord Dohrmann, CSO of Evotec.
Dr. Andy McMahon, Professor at Harvard University, said “The primary mechanisms leading and driving the development of kidney damage have not been systematically explored. We aim to comprehensively screen for these mechanisms looking at how individual kidney cell types respond to acute and chronic insults during various stages of disease progression as well as during the recovery process”.
Dr. Ben Humphreys, associate physician in the Renal Division, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School, added: “As chronic diseases such as diabetes continue to grow at alarming rates there is an ever increasing need to develop new treatment options for diabetes related co-morbidities which include end stage renal disease. In collaboration with Evotec, we are enthusiastic about identifying and exploring new mechanisms that have the potential to modify disease progression and hopefully produce first-in-class therapeutics for the treatment of kidney disease”.
“We’re very pleased to expand our alliance which is testimony to a highly productive working relationship with Evotec in diabetes”, said Isaac T. Kohlberg, Harvard’s Chief Technology Development Officer and head of its Office of Technology Development. “This new collaboration involving researchers from Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital as well as Evotec is a great example of joining forces across traditional academic and industrial boundaries to more rapidly advance groundbreaking science to the stage of translational medicine and ultimately patients.”