As research universities around the world look to put their labs to lucrative use by launching CROs, Duke University has nailed down another development deal, teaming up with the International Stem Cell Corporation ($ISCO) on a Parkinson's disease treatment.
California's ISCO is at work on a therapy that uses human parthenogenetic neural stem cells, a method the company believes could revolutionize the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Now the company has inked a master clinical research agreement with Duke, tasking the school's in-house clinical research unit with running trials led by Vice Dean for Clinical Research Mark Stacy.
Duke says its Clinical Research Institute is the world's largest academic CRO, and the organization's vast clinical prowess is what attracted ISCO, R&D Vice President Ruslan Semechkin said.
"Dr. Stacy and his team have made numerous significant contributions in the field of Parkinson's disease research, which, together with Duke's extensive clinical expertise in cell therapy clinical trials and the extensive patient population, gives us an outstanding opportunity to evaluate our revolutionary stem cell therapy," Semechkin said in a statement.
For Duke, the ISCO deal follows a March agreement with Benitec Biopharma to run Phase I/II trials for an RNAi hepatitis C drug. The school's CRO has more than 80 Phase I studies under its belt, and Duke bills it as the only university-based contractor that can provide all the services of a large CRO backed up with the academic credibility of a top-tier research institute.
- read the announcement