Medical Center and Temple University create drug discovery partnership
The University of Rochester Medical Center and Temple University School of Pharmacy have formed a partnership to enhance translation of novel medical research into new drugs for treating diseases.
“This is a perfect marriage of the world class drug discovery and medicinal chemistry programs of Temple University with the strong biomedical expertise of the Medical Center and its faculty,” said Stephen Dewhurst, Ph.D., chair of Rochester’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology. “I am excited by the opportunities this creates to explore innovative therapeutic approaches and targets.”
Magid Abou-Gharbia, Ph.D., director of Temple University’s Moulder Center for Drug Discovery Research, said “the disease program areas of the University of Rochester Medical Center overlap significantly with those of the Moulder Center.”
“The two organizations bring complementary experience and skills to the table and the combination of the two will undoubtedly lead to many new drug discovery projects and increase the chances of identifying new drugs for treating unmet medical needs,” he said.
Abou-Gharbia, who previously worked as senior vice president of discovery research at Wyeth for 26 years, has led the Moulder Center since its creation in 2008. Moulder is home to a unique, state-of-the-art laboratory that brings together pharmaceutical talent, instrumentation, and software to create one of the nation’s top centers for integrated drug research.
The partnership reflects a growing trend in medical research in which academic institutions have become more directly involved in the drug discovery process, a role that has historically been filled by the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. As drug companies cut back on in-house research and development and become more risk-averse, they are increasingly looking to universities to conduct the early stage research necessary to identify promising new discoveries. For academic institutions, this means playing a more active role in identifying and guiding new compounds from the earliest stages of research along the path to becoming a new drug.
The agreement enables scientists at the two institutions to collaborate and move discoveries to the next stage of research by identifying compounds that act upon new targets and may ultimately form the basis for new therapeutics. Medical Center scientists will work with Moulder Center’s medicinal chemistry and other drug development capabilities to rapidly screen large numbers of compounds to identify novel drug candidates that can undergo a battery of pre-clinical tests in the lab and in animal models necessary to ensure that they are stable, not toxic, and act as intended.
Some 30 Rochester research projects have already been identified as potential candidates for this collaboration.
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