Sanford-Burnham, Takeda and Florida Hospital announce obesity partnership

Partnership aligns complementary strengths in biomedical research, clinical research and drug development to identify and validate obesity-related biomarkers and new peripheral molecular targets of mutual interest

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ORLANDO, Fla.—Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Florida Hospital and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. have signed a research agreement to form a collaboration aimed at discovering and evaluating new therapeutic approaches to obesity. The trio say that their partnership "aligns complementary strengths in biomedical research, clinical research and drug development to identify and validate obesity-related biomarkers and new peripheral molecular targets of mutual interest." The partners expect that this research agreement will set the stage for future collaborative drug discovery campaigns aimed at novel therapeutics to treat obesity.

The partnership is the first corporate-sponsored research jointly undertaken by Sanford-Burnham at Lake Nona and the Florida Hospital-Sanford-Burnham Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes (TRI)

"This partnership with Takeda, TRI and Sanford-Burnham represents a major milestone in the quest for a better understanding of obesity as a disease and a pathway forward for the development of safe and effective therapies," says Dr. Steven R. Smith, scientific director of the TRI, which is where the Florida Hospital portion of the work will be performed. Noting that there is an epidemic of obesity in the United States, with two-thirds of Americans now overweight or obese, he add, "These staggering statistics serve as a call for decisive action, including innovative bench-to-bedside translational research."

The multi-disciplinary team of basic scientists and clinical researchers at Sanford-Burnham and the TRI will provide Takeda, a global pharmaceutical company, with a research continuum from laboratory bench to bedside.  Advanced technologies, including genomic and metabolite profiling, will be used to identify metabolic signatures, genes and pathways that could serve as biomarkers and novel drug targets aimed at developing more personalized treatments for obesity and its complications. The research model combines laboratory-based assets with in-depth investigation of patient cohorts so that scientists can compare data from experimental models and humans to identify genetic and metabolomic "matches."

"This research partnership is a collaborative model that capitalizes on the synergistic expertise of each group and provides all partners with access to our Cardiometabolic Phenotyping, Metabolomics and Genomics technology cores," says Dr. Daniel P. Kelly, scientific director of the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute at Lake Nona. "It offers much promise for expediting new drug candidates into Takeda's development pipeline."

This two year, collaborative agreement includes research funding from Takeda divided between Florida Hospital-TRI and Sanford-Burnham. For Takeda this collaboration represents one of the largest and most ambitious discovery research partnerships that it has conducted with the not-for-profit sector.

"We view this collaboration as an opportunity to further Takeda's goal of identifying targets for new therapeutics to treat obesity and its negative health consequences, including metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease." says Dr. Paul Chapman, general manager and head of Pharmaceutical Research Division of Takeda Pharmaceutical.


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