La Jolla, Kyowa Hakko Kirin partner on autoimmune disease drug discovery

La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology and Kyowa Hakko Kirin California (KKC), a subsidiary of Japanese pharmaceutical company Kyowa Hakko Kirin, have signed a 6-year drug discovery pact to develop therapies for a wide range of autoimmune diseases.

Academic and industry collaborations are on the upswing as pharma companies look to fill the hole left by major R&D cutbacks.

"Our ultimate goal is to see our findings put into direct use for improving human health," Mitchell Kronenberg, La Jolla Institute president and chief scientific officer, said in a statement. But most research institutes aren't equipped for many aspects of drug development, which underscores the need for academic-industry relationships.

The agreement continues a more than two-decade-long research alliance between the academic nonprofit and KKC, which acts as Kyowa Hakko Kirin's primary drug discovery and translational research center in the U.S. Under the terms of the agreement, La Jolla Institute will receive, through the end of 2018, a combination of flexible research funding and funds reserved for special projects that will be selected by a committee made up of La Jolla Institute and Kyowa Hakko Kirin leaders.

KKC will receive first rights of negotiation to pursue translation of any discoveries made from research projects funded by the collaboration.

La Jolla Institute discoveries that have come out of the KKC partnership are already advancing toward the clinic, including treatments for psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The nonprofit has drugs at various stages of development, including a drug that eases immune rejection problems in patients following organ transplantation in Phase II clinical human studies.

- here's the press release

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