New alliance of academic research centres to accelerate drug development

23 January 2012

Six of the world’s top translational health research centres have formed the Global Alliance of Leading Drug Discovery and Development Centres. The aim of this alliance is to strengthen the international academic and not-for-profit drug development and commercialization network to ultimately improve the rate at which academic research is translated into new medicines.

The founding organizations are:

  • The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Canada
  • Lead Discovery Center (LDC), Germany
  • The Scripps Research Institute, Scripps Florida, United States
  • The Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3), KU Leuven R&D, Belgium
  • Medical Research Council Technology, United Kingdom
  • Cancer Research Technology, United Kingdom

All member organizations are fully-integrated translational centres capable of professionally advancing drug discovery projects along the value chain from idea to drug candidate with proof-of-concept. Together, they represent close to 400 experienced drug developers collaborating with tens of thousands of academic scientists around the globe on over 165 highly innovative therapeutic projects targeting significant unmet medical needs.

For the biopharmaceutical industry, they represent a major source of innovation. Numerous alliances with many of the industry’s leading global companies have been established to develop resulting drug candidates further and ultimately make them available to patients.

Through this Alliance, member organizations will collaborate on mutually-beneficial projects, share best practices, expertise and resources, and develop common standards and performance measurements — ultimately working together to improve the conversion of global early-stage technology into much needed therapies.

Karimah Es Sabar, President and CEO of CDRD commented, “We see a multitude of translational research initiatives around the world, but until now, these have for the most part, worked in isolation of one another. This Alliance will be a powerful vehicle in bringing such organizations together, leveraging one another’s strengths, and ultimately making for a much more effective global translational research environment.”

Further information

The Global Alliance of Leading Drug Discovery and Development Centres: 

About the Founding Organizations:

The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Canada

The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) is Canada’s fully-integrated national drug development and commercialization centre, providing expertise and infrastructure to enable researchers from leading health research institutions to advance promising early-stage drug candidates. Our mandate is to de-risk discoveries stemming from publicly-funded health research and transform them into viable investment opportunities for the private sector — thus successfully bridging the commercialization gap between academia and industry, and translating research discoveries into new therapies for patients. Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence Program has recognized CDRD as a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR). 

Lead Discovery Center (LDC), Germany

The Lead Discovery Center (LDC), a spin-off company of Max Planck Innovation, was established a novel approach to capitalize on the potential of excellent basic research for the discovery of new therapies for diseases with high medical need. With a world-class team of interdisciplinary scientists, drug discovery experts, pharmacologists and seasoned project managers, the LDC takes on promising early-stage projects from academia and transforms them into innovative pharmaceutical leads that reach initial proof-of-concept in animals. In close collaboration with high-profile partners from academia and industry, the LDC is building a strong and further growing portfolio of small molecule leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential. Target indications of these LDC molecules cover a broad range of diseases including cancer, inflammation, infection and metabolic, neurological or neurodegenerative diseases. 

The Scripps Research Institute, Scripps Florida, United States

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world’s largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. Over the past decades, TSRI has developed a lengthy track record of major contributions to science and health, including laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. The institute employs about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including three Nobel laureates—work toward their next discoveries. The institute’s graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. 

The Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3), Belgium

The Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3) is an investment fund and technology transfer platform focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines by building further on the enormous pool of basic knowledge, innovation and technology of universities and spin-off companies. CD3 ensures that fundamental biomedical research is translated into promising small molecule therapies with proof-of-concept in animals which can be further developed by pharmaceutical companies or form the basis for new companies. In this way, CD3 bridges the gap between academic innovative research and the pharmaceutical industry. CD3 was set up by KU Leuven Research & Development (LRD) and the European Investment Fund (EIF) at the end of 2006 and has currently an investment capacity of 24 million euro. In the past years, CD3 has taken the initial steps in more than 25 projects in order to develop potential new medicines for various disorders with an unmet medical need, including viral infections (e.g. HIV, Dengue virus), various cancers, asthma, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and pain. 

Medical Research Council (MRC) Technology, United Kingdom

MRC Technology is a technology transfer organisation responsible for adding commercial value to cutting edge scientific discoveries through strategic patent protection, creative licensing of intellectual property (IP), partnered research or further scientific development. As well as offering technology transfer services to the UK’s Medical Research Council the Company has recently broadened its activity to include helping other charitable and academic organisations (such as AICR) with IP management and commercial development of healthcare-related science, thus bringing valuable income back to the organisations to help fund further research. MRC Technology also has small molecule drug discovery and therapeutic antibody facilities, providing lead-stage therapeutic assets to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. 

Cancer Research Technology, United Kingdom

Cancer Research Technology (CRT) is a specialist commercialisation and development company, which aims to develop new discoveries in cancer research for the benefit of cancer patients. CRT works closely with leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property arising from their research and to establish links with commercial partners. CRT facilitates the discovery, development and marketing of new cancer therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and enabling technologies. CRT is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK, the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.








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