Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute is about to apply its robotics and 3-D modeling skills to the discovery of molecules to treat heart failure. Takeda is bankrolling the two-year program as part of its broader collaboration The Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine.
Osaka, Japan-based Takeda expanded its well-established relationship with Sanford this week with a new $10 million, 5-year research pact. Takeda's recent dealmaking activity has given it access to the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics, a chemical screening facility that partnered with Pfizer ($PFE) in 2011. The center will use its robotic testing systems to evaluate 900,000 compounds over the next 6 to 9 months in an attempt to discover chemicals that show efficacy against the heart failure-related target proteins of interest to Takeda.
Ultimately, the distant goal is to stop the energy starvation that worsens heart failure and causes almost half of people with the diagnosis to die within 5 years. "This partnership is focused on earlier processes of developing heart failure, before part of the heart is dead. And part of our interest relates to focusing on metabolism and the way the heart is able to produce energy from nutrients," Sanford-Burnham Scientific Director Dr. Daniel Kelly told the Orlando Sentinel. Robotic hardware and 3-D modeling software are key to turning this idea into viable preclinical programs.
The robot-enabled testing initiative is being run in conjunction with a 3-D modeling program, in which Fraydoon Rastinejad will visualize the molecules and assess the likelihood of them interacting with the target protein.