New alliance aims to bolster promising early-stage research

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A new research alliance between the University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. aims to accelerate drug discovery in diseases with widespread need for novel treatments or cures—including cancer, gastrointestinal diseases, and neurological disorders.

The alliance, called The Seattle Partnership for Research on Innovative Therapies, or SPRInT, is intended to take biological targets that show early promise in the lab and accelerate them toward clinical applications.

Researchers will jointly pursue therapies for gastrointestinal and neurological disorders and cancer, to start. Image credit: Clare McLean, University of Washington

“In addition to our long-standing collaboration with Fred Hutch in the area of cancer research, UW faculty are at the forefront of basic science research aimed at improving therapeutic opportunities for patients suffering from debilitating central nervous system and GI disorders,” said John Slattery, UW Medicine vice dean for research and graduate education.  “This collaboration will help move this research forward.”

The agreement allows Fred Hutch and UW Medicine scientists access to Takeda’s drug-discovery capabilities, such as expertise in commercial-grade research and development planning.

“Our partnership with Takeda is designed to allow each of us to bring our best skills sets together to accelerate development of the next generation of cancer cures,” said Dr. Gary Gilliland, president and director of Fred Hutch. “We have a range of innovative programs in our pipeline, and our scientists are eager to move their work from the proof-of-principle stage and toward treatments to help patients.”

It takes at least a decade for a new medicine to evolve from a research finding through clinical trials and approval as a treatment by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The new alliance with Takeda will expedite the development process by bringing the company’s scientists into closer collaboration with researchers at the Hutch and UW.

“Takeda seeks to collaborate with the best scientists around the globe to deliver innovative treatments for patients across our three core therapeutic areas of GI, neuroscience and oncology,” said Steve Hitchcock, head of research at Takeda. “We are excited to partner with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington, and leverage our collective capabilities to accelerate the discovery of scientific breakthroughs in the lab and deliver them to patients.”

Source: University of Washington

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