TSRI launches Scripps Advance

The drug discovery initiative will help advance biomedical research projects into clinical development

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LA JOLLA, Calif.—The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has announced the creation of Scripps Advance, a new drug discovery initiative to aid in translating early-stage biomedical research projects, both internal and external to TSRI, into the clinic.
Scripps Advance also has experience in the biotech space. The initiative has collaborated with early-stage investment firm Atlas Venture to launch Padlock Therapeutics. The company focuses on the discovery of novel therapeutics that target the protein arginine deiminases, an emerging class of enzymes linked to autoimmunity and epigenetic control. The technology Padlock Therapeutics’ work is based on was developed at the labs of TSRI investigators Dr. Paul Thompson and Dr. Kerri Mowen in collaboration with the Scripps Florida’s high-throughput screening facility.
“In building Scripps Advance we recognized the need to focus on therapeutic developments with the potential to lead to game changing ways in which we treat disease. The expertise and technical breadth found at our Florida site has already had a significant impact on putting drug candidates into the clinic. We look forward to broadening our footprint in this area through collaborations with Johnson & Johnson Innovation and other companies,” Dr. Todd Huffman, director of drug discovery partnerships at TSRI, said in a press release.
The first organization Scripps Advance will be collaborating with is the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in California, which will harness Scripps Advance’s connections with academic researchers at TSRI, other academic centers and early-stage companies to pinpoint potential collaborators. Scripps Advance, for its part, will serve as a facilitator for future business relationships between Johnson & Johnson Innovation and emerging life-science companies, companies-in-planning, researchers involved in translational research and other entrepreneurs that are members of the Scripps Advance network.
“Scripps Advance is a truly novel type of relationship designed to combine the diversity and innovation of academic research enterprises with the expertise, infrastructure and capital of the private sector,” Dr. Scott Forrest, vice president of business development at TSRI, commented in a statement. “We believe this collaboration structure will prove uniquely effective. Advance will look both inside and outside of TSRI for projects to take forward and it will work with pharma companies to select and fund those projects. Johnson & Johnson Innovation is committed to innovative science, which only raises our level of excitement about Advance.”
This is some of the latest collaborative news for Johnson & Johnson Innovation, which announced in early January that it was expanding its global incubator presence with a novel collaboration with the Office of the Chief Scientist in Israel, as well as other industry partners, in order to establish a new biotechnology incubator near Weizmann Science Park in Israel. At the same time, Johnson & Johnson Innovation also announced collaborations with the University of MD Anderson Cancer Center, Assembly Pharmaceuticals, Nodality, SutroVax, TopiVert, Intrexon, Scholar Rock and Bioceros.

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