LAKE NONA, FLA., August 13, 2013, 8:30 a.m. EST – Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) announced that it has entered into a collaboration with Pfizer Inc. to identify new therapeutic targets for preventing and treating complications of obesity and diabetes. The team will utilize novel screening tools including systems-biology approaches and technologies developed at Sanford-Burnham with the aim of discovering new therapeutic strategies for reducing insulin resistance in obesity and diabetes.
Under the three-year agreement, multi-disciplinary teams from Sanford-Burnham and Pfizer will collaborate to identify and validate new targets for drug discovery. The collaboration combines Sanford-Burnham's expertise in fundamental disease biology and muscle metabolism with Pfizer's expertise in drug discovery. Investigators will utilize Sanford-Burnham's Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics (Prebys Center) to screen for new relevant targets using investigational compounds from Pfizer as well as evaluate compounds previously identified from the NIH chemical library. Once the screening identifies compounds of interest, Sanford-Burnham and Pfizer scientists will collaborate to characterize and further study the "hit" compounds to understand their mechanism of action. These compounds will then be used as "probes" to identify novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of diabetes.
"Diabetes presents an enormous public health burden. There is an acute need to translate innovative science into potential new medicines for people living with this debilitating disease," said Tim Rolph, Vice President and Head of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Research Unit at Pfizer. "Pfizer's collaboration with Sanford-Burnham to use their cutting-edge screen designs is an example of our strategy to work with academic innovators to discover novel therapeutics for prevention and treatment of diabetes."
Pfizer will have access to Sanford-Burnham's team of world-class scientists and translational infrastructure dedicated to finding new approaches to targeting disease. Collaborating with researchers at a major pharmaceutical company will help Sanford-Burnham achieve its mission of translating high-impact science into new therapies. "This important collaboration focuses our tremendous scientific and translational firepower on a major medical problem – complications of obesity-related diabetes. Working with Pfizer, we can more quickly bridge the gap between basic and translational research," said Stephen Gardell, Ph.D., senior director of scientific resources at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute at Lake Nona.
The Prebys Center houses Sanford-Burnham's state-of-the-art screening facility established to accelerate the rate of commercialization of basic research in an independent medical research setting. Sanford-Burnham's drug discovery capabilities include: ultra-high throughput screening, high-content screening, phenotypic screening, and target deconvolution technologies. The Prebys Center is led and staffed by industry-trained professionals who work closely with Sanford-Burnham investigators and industry collaborators to translate scientific findings into actionable drug discovery projects.
About Insulin Resistance in Diabetes
It is well known that abnormalities of lipid metabolism in muscle are associated with insulin resistance in obese individuals where excess fat is deposited in many organs and tissues in the body including skeletal muscle. As fat accumulates, muscle – the major sugar-disposal site in the body – becomes insulin resistant and sugar is not cleared as effectively from the blood.
About Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow. Sanford-Burnham takes a collaborative approach to medical research with major programs in cancer, neurodegeneration, cardiometabolic disorders, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is recognized for its National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center and expertise in drug discovery technologies. Sanford-Burnham is a nonprofit, independent institute that employs 1,200 scientists and staff in San Diego (La Jolla), California, and Orlando (Lake Nona), Florida. For more information, visit us at sanfordburnham.org.