Sanofi, UCSF form R&D collaborations

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Sanofi-Aventis and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have formed two R&D collaborations to advance innovation from the lab to the patient.

The first collaboration promotes research in pharmacological science and in multiple therapeutic areas, such as oncology, aging, diabetes and inflammation. The second is an oncology partnership that will focus on accelerating the progression of research through the clinical proof of concept stage. The drugmaker will fund up to five grants a year, with additional funds available for students or fellows to intern at Sanofi to conduct collaborative research. The company also will fund an annual research forum that will bring together researchers to share knowledge and perspectives on relevant scientific matters and review progress of research projects funded through the collaboration.

Sanofi will be the first industry partner for UCSF's Program for Breakthrough Biomedical Research (PBBR). For more than a decade, PBBR has provided grants that are credited with drawing more than $300 million in external follow-up funding, as well as generating 900 scientific papers, 30 filed patents, licensed technologies and three startup companies.

This is the third industry deal inked by UCSF recently. In November, Pfizer said it invest $85 million over the next five years into early-stage discovery work among the university's scientists. And this week, Bayer Healthcare announced it had signed a master agreement to collaborate with UCSF scientists, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

Several biotech companies have teamed up with universities on drug discovery and research pacts. In October, for example, Sanofi said it was teaming with Harvard to focus on biomedical R&D projects involving cancer, diabetes and inflammation.

- get the Sanofi release
- check out more from the San Francisco Business Times

ALSO: A medication commonly prescribed as a muscle relaxant shows promise as a potential treatment for alcoholism, based on a study in rats by researchers at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center and the University of California, San Francisco.  Chlorzoxazone, an FDA-approved drug, significantly decreased alcohol consumption in a rat model of heavy drinking, said lead author Woody Hopf, PhD, an associate investigator at Gallo and an assistant adjunct professor of neurology at UCSF. UCSF release

AND: Bayer's news about the UCSF deal came at the same time it announced it had started operations at its U.S. innovation center. Bayer says it is expanding its collaborative relationships with academic and life sciences firms in California and other major scientific networks in the U.S. through a dedicated team of scientists at the center. A team is charged with identifying and facilitating collaborations in the areas of Bayer's research focus, which include oncology, cardiology and hematology, women's healthcare and diagnostic imaging. Bayer Healthcare announcement

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