One platform for MS research

MRF taps CDD’s Web-based software to integrate MS research efforts

Amy Swinderman
BURLINGAME, Calif.—The Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF), a non-profit collaborative research organization focused on developing treatments for multiple sclerosis, has tapped the Web-based software of Collaborative Drug Discovery Inc. (CDD) to enable the foundation's sponsored researchers to collaborate more effectively.

According to MRF, CDD's software, which organizes preclinical research data to help scientists advance new drug candidates, will integrate the efforts of MRF's Accelerated Research Collaboration (ARC) model, an interdisciplinary team of research scientists, laboratories and institutions. In addition to making its existing capabilities available to all MRF researchers, CDD will extend the software's range to include target validation and customize the interface for MRF's researchers.

"Many of the research programs that the MRF is involved with cannot be performed within one lab and rely on two or more of our laboratories to move the research forward," says Dr. Jay Tung, vice president of drug discovery at MRF. "The CDD platform allows us to capture and share this data in an efficient manner. This will enable our team to efficiently utilize our research data to identify and validate myelin repair targets and initiate drug discovery efforts."

CDD's database presents data to researchers through an intuitive Web interface. Contextually-aware hyperlinks steer scientists where they need to go without requiring them to master complex tools. The database features the ability to share data with a spectrum of permissions—either selectively with just a few specific colleagues, openly with the entire scientific community, or not at all. This encourages data-sharing, when appropriate, while protecting intellectual property and enables MRF's researchers to patent and commercialize their promising therapeutics in a more efficient, hassle-free manner, says CDD Founder and President Barry Bunin.

"CDD's software was designed specifically to encourage and support this type of research model, so we believe our database will significantly accelerate MRF's efforts," Bunin says. "CDD's philosophy is to figure out how to make the information quickly accessible, and then we leave it up to the scientists to figure out if they want to share the data."

MRF and CDD will also work together to help other disease research organizations realize the full potential of collaborative research, Tung says.

"As our partnerships grows, I am confident that we will continue to learn from each other and that we will have a significant impact on the target identification, validation and drug discovery efforts that MRF is involved with," Tung says. "As MRF's target identification efforts transition into drug discovery, we will rely on this platform to capture and share the data that we generate internally with contract research organizations and with pharmaceutical partners. We believe that the MRF ARC model can be applied to any therapeutic disease."

Bunin says the partnership fits into CDD's long-term vision "of having 20,000 scientists online and each of their brains and expertise working to help others."

"Foundations have a sort of unique perspective on drug discovery as more than just one field," Bunin says. "CDD is disease-area agnostic, but our data is very specific, and the experts that input data into the database are very specific. Our database is the prototype for how foundations would like to see data organized, which will allow them to not only do great science, but also see great drugs advance from science." DDN

Amy Swinderman

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