Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP), a leading fundamental and translational research institute, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a global pharmaceutical company, have announced the creation of the SBP-GSK Center for Translational Neuroscience. The new Center, located on the SBP campus in La Jolla, will bring together experts from SBP and GSK to investigate factors that influence brain function and potentially reverse or slow down neurodegeneration, with the aim of identifying and validating new therapeutic targets. Under the three year agreement, GSK will provide funding to create and support a research laboratory. Staffed by SBP scientists, postdoctoral candidates and technicians working alongside neuroscientists from GSK, the Center will be designed to bolster research dedicated to translational neuroscience.
The number of people living with dementia worldwide is set to triple by 2050 to 135 million, yet there are currently no medicines that can prevent or cure this common disorder, and the same can be said of other neurodegenerative conditions. Development of new medicines to treat these conditions is particularly challenging—only eight percent of experimental treatments for neurological conditions that reach the testing stage in humans ever become an approved medicine. The new SBP-GSK Center for Translational Neuroscience aims to increase this success rate by improving the translation of disease biology to drug discovery through a successful collaboration that drives synergistic innovation.
“Neurodegeneration is one of the most important and challenging areas for science and medicine," said SBP CEO Perry Nisen, M.D., Ph.D. “This unique alliance provides an opportunity to combine the complementary expertise of our institutions to address one of the greatest unmet needs of our society today.”
Min Li, Ph.D., SVP, Global Head of Neurosciences, GSK said, “Rapid advances in science are characterized by both a deeper understanding of a specific topic and an awareness of the convergence across different, but related areas. Neurodegenerative diseases cross many fields of science, and this partnership takes full advantage of the depth and breadth in expertise both organizations bring to the table. Joining with a top-tier academic institution like SBP located in a high-density area of talent and elite research will also enhance our agility, enable us to move projects forward rapidly, and further support the discovery of new medicines for neurodegenerative diseases.”
“This collaboration also provides a unique opportunity for scientists to be fully funded to pursue pioneering research in neuroscience with the goal of bringing validated targets that could lead to therapies in an area of great patient need,” Nisen said.
GSK has a long history of research and development in neuroscience—dating to the 1950s through heritage companies. Today, GSK’s global footprint for neurosciences includes Shanghai, London, and Philadelphia. In 2015, GSK opened a R&D Satellite in La Jolla with the intent to find, fund and fuel scientific research that will lead to new and innovative medicines for patients. The Satellite focuses on creating and nurturing collaborative relationships in San Diego and all along the West coast’s vibrant academic, biotech and venture communities. The addition of the SBP-GSK Center in La Jolla is in line with GSK’s strategy to look for academic-industry collaborations that complement internal expertise in the search for solutions to the tough questions.
SBP takes a multidisciplinary approach to neuroscience, combining expertise in biology, genomics, chemistry, imaging and drug screening to reveal the underlying causes of neurodegeneration and novel strategies to treat nervous system disorders. Scientists at SBP have made major breakthroughs in understanding the genes and pathogenesis of neurological disorders, creating new disease targets for drug discovery and development.
SBP is known for both its basic research and for going beyond into the translational stage. The alliance combines the expertise of SBP scientists in fundamental neuroscience research with GSK’s proven pharmaceutical development capability and experience.