SRI Biosciences and Stanford Cancer Institute Launch Drug Discovery Program

MENLO PARK, Calif., Dec. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A new collaborative program between scientists at SRI Biosciences, a division of SRI International, and physician-researchers from Stanford Cancer Institute (SCI) will pursue development of novel compounds to treat multiple forms of cancer and other conditions.

This SRI Biosciences-Stanford Drug Discovery and Development Program has been created in response to a significant drop in the early pipeline of innovative new drugs, and builds on a history of partnerships among investigators from both institutions. The combined basic research, drug discovery and drug development expertise of researchers from SCI and SRI Biosciences has successfully advanced numerous projects, and the new program adds structure, support and coordination to such efforts.

Previous collaborations have yielded new therapeutic candidates, including Tirapazamine, an experimental anticancer drug discovered by SRI and SCI investigators and brought to Phase III clinical trials. Several other SRI-SCI developed compounds are currently undergoing preclinical testing.

Recently, Stanford professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine Tony Wyss-Coray, Ph.D., and SRI Biosciences director of Medicinal and Synthetic Chemistry Mary Tanga, Ph.D., jointly discovered and developed a small molecule agonist of the TGF-beta signaling pathway for Alzheimer's disease. The new agent has successfully moved through preclinical development and is continuing into clinical trials.

"The SCI-SRI Biosciences collaboration provides a fully integrated engine for taking ideas to the investigational new drug (IND) stage and beyond," said Nathan Collins, Ph.D., executive director of the Pharmaceutical and Chemical Technologies Section in SRI Biosciences. "Our focus is on developing  'first-in-class' drugs and delivering improved outcomes for patients."

The program brings together teams of multidisciplinary scientists in both discovery and refinement of novel compounds and targets, and it provides access to the critical scientific infrastructure necessary for disease mechanism understanding and target discovery, and drug discovery and development through clinical safety and proof of concept.

"Advances in genomic and molecular analysis of individual patients and their cancers are creating new therapeutic opportunities," said Stanford Cancer Institute Director Beverly S. Mitchell, M.D. "We are excited to work with the skilled SRI Biosciences researchers to enhance our drug development efforts."

The program will be co-led by Sanjay V. Malhotra, Ph.D., FRSC, associate professor of radiation oncology at Stanford, and Nathan Collins. Together they will coordinate and support a diverse and evolving group of investigators and technical experts to advance promising projects.

About SRI Biosciences 
SRI Biosciences, a division of SRI International, integrates basic biomedical research with drug and diagnostics discovery and preclinical and clinical development. SRI International, a research center headquartered in Menlo Park, California, creates world-changing solutions making people safer, healthier and more productive.

About Stanford Cancer Institute
SCI is a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center dedicated and resourced to catalyze the vast scientific, technological and human capabilities of Stanford University and Stanford Healthcare to advance understanding of cancer and rapidly translate research discoveries into improved prevention strategies, diagnostics and therapies.

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